Does anyone actually remember January 29th 2012? That might seem like a bizarre question but it does having a meaning for OM fans, it was the last time the team won a ligue 1 match. Yes, it’s been that long ago since Didier Deschamps’ men managed to pick up 3 points domestically. The hope prior to this Lorient match was that OM could at least finish the season fairly strongly and a trip to Le Stade Moustoir looked like a decent chance to end their barren winless streak.
Lorient had won just a couple of games since the end of November and had shockingly blown a 2-0 lead away at Lyon last week. Facing a team under serious relegation threat, with a lot of injuries and a supposed fragile confidence, surely this was OM;s chance to stop the rot wasn‘t it? M’Bia, Cheyrou and Andre Ayew’s absences didn’t help, although at least Loic Remy was on the bench and back from injury. The visitors lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with the most notable tactic being Brandao on the left wing and Gignac as the central striker.
The game pretty much panned out into a typical OM fixture of how things have been going recently. Often they dominated possession, had the better of the chances, but lacked the cutting edge in the final 3rd. Whilst at the same time conceding goals out of nowhere and officials basically being shit as well.
It was a bright start by the south coast outfit, they passed the ball around fairly well and were the better team. Genuine goal-scoring chances weren’t really being created, although Rod Fanni missed a header from close range when he really should’ve hit the target, it was a huge miss. Lorient offensively offered little and the OM backline looked pretty solid and assured. But as per usual, out of nowhere came a match turning moment, once more influenced by the referee.
Morel was adjudged to have tugged back Joel Campbell and a spot kick was given. Initially I had to admit it was a fair call, but on closer inspection of replays it was a clear 50/50 incident which just went the way of the hosts. Mvuemba tucked away the penalty and Lorient led 1-0. Just moments before halftime OM should’ve had a penalty of their own when Jordan Ayew was chopped down in the area. This was right in front of the referee, but his response to this appeal was to give Ayew a yellow card for diving. There’s no doubt that this was a complete joke decision.
After the break, Campbell and Monnet-Paquet caught out OM on the break which eventually resulted in an easy finish for the latter and he made it 2-0. It was always going to be tough to come recover from that position, but to OM’s credit they did pull one back through Valbuena with about 15 mins left. Gignac had the best equalizing chance with a free header late on, but he fired straight at the keeper. A couple of encouraging signs for OM were the sub appearances of youngsters Gadi and Bangoura, both looked hungry and showed some nice touches.
But it was all in vain as Marseille lost yet again and 2-1 was the final score. Again, it was another match which shouldn’t have really ended up in defeat, but a number of factors contributed. I’m not making excuses here but the referee’s provenance was really shocking. He denied OM at least 2 clear penalties and some of his other decision making was bizarre. At times I thought it was Stevie Wonder out there to be honest. On one occasion Valbuena appealed for a handball after a shot CLEARLY deflected off some part of the arm/chest/torso of a Lorient player and behind for a corner. What did the referee give? A goal kick. That pretty much summed up his performance and I’ve got to say Mr Phillipe Malige it was a disgraceful display of officiating.
So yet another defeat for OM and it’s a good job we have 41 points on the board otherwise relegation would be a threat at the moment, that’s how bad things are. Although in theory after Sunday’s results, we could find ourselves just 5 points clear of the drop zone which would be no huge comfort. Clearly this is a team which lacks a lot of confidence at the moment and seems to have run out of ideas. I think Deschamps has lost the plot and it’s about time the team had a new fresh approach, things have simply gotten far too stale here.
The situation is unacceptable and despite having won the Coupe de la Ligue and reached the QFs of the CL, our club is a bit of a laughing stock in French football at the moment. This has to stop and some pride needs to be restored before the end of the season, starting on Wednesday night at home to Nancy. I demand an improvement of results quickly, but can I see it happening? Hhhmmmm I’ve got to admit my confidence isn’t high in that department.
(@meatmansoccer & @MarseilleUK)