Marseille restored some pride by beating Nancy 1-0 at Le Stade Velodrome. This was their first ligue win since January 29th and it had been a long wait for OM fans to see their side pick up 3 points again. An excellent 1st half display paved the way for success, really we should’ve been 2 or 3 goals up by the break. Nancy improved after halftime and had chances to equalise, but Deschamps’ men managed to hold on for a 1-0 victory.
OM had no new injuries to contend with prior to the match, but did have Kabore and Brandao suspended. Jeremy Morel had been a doubt to start at LDEF because of a groin problem, but he was fit enough to be in the XI, saving us the embarrassment of having to endure another Djimi Traore display. Cheyrou and Diarra returned to the team after missing out against Lorient in the previous match, whilst Jordan Ayew was dropped to the bench.
Deschamps opted to use a 4-2-3-1 system for this game, which sometimes developed into a 4-3-3 system. Gignac was used as the central striker with Remy on the right and Valbuena left. The clear aim was to try and make the team fluid and able to move about easier, this wasn’t a rigid ‘stick to position’ type formation.
OM started brightest and they were especially probing on the left hand side where Valbuena swung in a number of crosses. All of the possession and threat came from the hosts and eventually Valbuena, Gignac and Remy all had big chances to open the scoring. Only poor finishing prevented the hosts from finding the net, but finally they did break the deadlock through Loic Remy, who concerted well from close range to make it 1-0. Truth be told, Nancy didn’t have a veritable occasion before halftime and had looked really toothless.
After the break, the visitors did improve and had a lot more of the ball. They never really created anything substantial, but had a lot of half chances and did look more dangerous. Mandanda was called into action a few times and made a couple of smart saves, but those were mostly from long range or from free kicks. In the last 10 minutes, Ayew (twice) and Gignac had big chances to secure the points, but N’dy Assembe kept Nancy in the game. Ultimately though, it was to be OM’s night and they held on fairly comfortably towards the end without major alarm.
I think over the course of the 90 minutes, OM deserved their win. The first half performance was excellent and they clearly dominated Nancy. There were nerves after the break as the visitors gained in confidence more, but the Olympians held on to claim an important 3 points. It had been such a long time since they last tasted victory that I’m sure it was a relief to everyone at the club.