August was a good month for OM. The overall statistical record reads :- P7 W5 D2 L0. Add into the mixer just 2 goals conceded and 5 clean sheets demonstrates how solid Le Phoceen have been. In terms of player of the month, it was clearly obvious who was going to pick up the award. Andre Pierre Gignac simply has to win it because of his consistent outstanding displays. Before I talk more about him though I will give a bit of a mention to some other players who have also shone this month.
The defence overall has been outstanding. The mainstays, N’Koulou, Fanni and Morel have all played really well and gelled together nicely. N’Koulou and Fanni especially have looked very much at home in the middle when paired together. Its been very encouraging how solid OM have looked in comparison to times last year when the backline had so many problems. However, it does help to have such a quality keeper, Steeve Mandanda behind them as the last line of defence. France’s number 2, (arguably should be no1) was in great form last month making a number of key saves, often at crucial times. All thins considered, I would have to say he was the 2nd best player in August, but there is simply no topping Gignac.
Many expected the ex Lorient and Toulouse man to depart during the summer but he ended up staying. Gignac’s biggest problems in recent seasons have been fitness issues. Often dubbed ‘fat bastard’ or ‘fast food man’ he just hasn’t looked sharp during his time at OM and in some ways these names have been fairly justified. Perhaps a name which will always remain with him now though is ‘Le Bigmac’ The difference so far this season so far is that he’s been the subject of praise from all quarters and has been a key reason why OM have performed so well.
His form started with a bit of luck away to the ‘Turkish side’ when he rounded the keeper and sent a tame effort towards goal. Somehow, the defender failed to prevent it going in, last season knowing his luck it wouldn’t have been a goal. There was no doubt about his 2nd of the season though, a superb technical volley in the home leg which demonstrated just how confident he was feeling. His 3rd came at home to Sochaux where he had constantly battered away at them before powering home a fine header to give OM the lead.
It wasn’t just about his goalscoring ability though. He turned provider in the next game against Sheriff by assisting Jordan Ayew. Bigmac was however back in the goals just a few days later, scoring crucially in the 1-0 victory away to Montpellier. This is what I would calla definitive and decisive goal. To score then in such an important match and situation really announced his return and would’ve given him great belief. Once more, luck was perhaps on his side with Joudren somehow not saving the shot. But you make your own luck sometimes, that probably wouldn’t have gone in last season but this campaign its seems things are different. As Darth Vader once said ‘the force is really with him‘ at the moment.
Gignac has brought so much to the table so far this season. Right from the word go in the early friendly matches he seemed in the mood and up for it. He has commented himself that the key to his success has been a full recovery from injury ‘I feel no pain, which is a huge thing’. If he could stay fit for the whole season then I can definitely see him scoring 20+ goals in all competitions, maybe even more! Already he has started September with a bang, maybe he could win back to back player of the month awards? Time will tell, but definitely a big thumbs up and congratulations to him for his efforts so far.