Marseille fell to a 0-2 defeat away to Borussia Monchengladbach in what was a fairly low key match containing few chances. In truth, not too much split the teams here. It was only a penalty and a long range shot out of nowhere which enabled the Germans to collect the 3 points. OM played fairly well, but much like their outing away to Troyes on Sunday, they failed to create many clear cut chances.
It must be remembered that the more important game for Elie Baup’s men is the upcoming ligue 1 fixture at home to Lyon on Sunday. With that in mind, Cheyrou, Andre Ayew and Morel were all benched and it was a surprise that some of the other big names such as Valbuena weren’t given a breather either. Despite sitting on a comfortable 4 points in the group and perhaps having their minds elsewhere, OM knew that they could do with picking up something in this fixture, so everyone on the field would’ve been motivated.
The likes of Lucas Mendes, Jordan Ayew and of course Joey Barton all started, so plenty of fresh legs were brought into the side. Monchengladbach started brighter but OM gradually took over. A couple of Loic Remy chances went to waste, clearly he has yet to hit the right rhythm since his comeback from injury and is a work in progress at the moment. Things looked to be heading towards a scoreless first half but a penalty given for a handball on Kabore ensured the Gemrnas would be ahead come the interval.
50/50 penalty call against OM
I wont get into debates about whether it was or wasn’t a penalty here. As far as I’m concerned, by the letter of the law it was correct, but perhaps its 50/50 if some referees give it or not. It was a bit harsh on OM that they were behind at the break. For the most part they’d had plenty of possession and had looked lively, but a general lack of cutting edge was again the problem. This continued into the 2nd half where despite starting better and looking like they might get level, they just couldn’t manage to find a way to create enough chances.
25 yarder to seal victory for Monchengladbach
Joey Barton, who had a number of shots in this match was to come very close through a diving header but it hit his own man (Jordan Ayew) and came to nothing. Not long afterwards, Steve Mandanda was beaten by a 25 yard strike when perhaps he should’ve saved it. Undoubtedly the shot was well hit, but much like when Zlatan scored that ridiculously long free kick against him before the international break, I’m pretty sure a genuine world class keeper would’ve saved it. Mandanda is quality, but he has regressed a bit in the last few weeks and from certain long range positions he seems vulnerable.
The 2nd goal took the sting out of the game and OM heads visibly went down slightly. The hosts should’ve probably made it 3-0 but wasted a couple of chances. For the majority of 70 mins though, OM were arguably the slightly better side so can be aggrieved to have lost 2-0. In terms of the performance, there were plenty of positives and the team seemed to gel together nicely. The negatives are a defeat, conceding at crucial moments and that lack of penetration in the final 3rd to convert dominance into chances.
Sticky patch, look to the future
So where do Marseille go from here then? That early season form which saw such excellent performances, 6 straight victories in the ligue along with some impressive European displays seems to have gone down the wayside a bit. Realistically though, there isn’t too much to panic about. The defeat at VA was just one really bad day at the office, 2-2 at home to PSG was a decent outcome and to actually lose to Troyes was unlucky. This result in some ways is irrelevant because it was on the road facing arguably the toughest challenger in the group.
I’m pretty sure that if OM decide to take the return fixture seriously then they will pick up the 3 points and gain revenge on the Germans. The match at the weekend at home to rivals Lyon is a much more vital clash and its very important that the players are properly prepared for it. The squad rotation tonight should help the fitness of certain players, whilst someone like Loic Remy playing over an hour can only boost his fitness level too. This is a slightly sticky patch for Elie Baup’s men, but all will soon be quickly forgotten if they can pick up 3 points on Sunday evening.
Goals – (Poor quality)
Player ratings and comments
Mandanda 4/10 Has to be downgraded for being beaten from 25 yards out, it looked like he could’ve done better there.
Abdallah 6/10 Shows he is progressing and especially looks more confident coming forwards. Looked lively here and caused some problems.
Nkoulou 5/10 Solid, without being spectacular
Fanni 5/10 Same as Nkoulou really, was solid enough.
Mendes 5/10 Looked assured enough defensively, would like to see more of him in support of the attack though.
Barton 6/10 There’s no doubt he adds some steel to the midfield and some of his passes are genuinely class demonstrating good vision. Should stop shooting so much though, it’s a waste.
Kabore 4/10 He had a disappointing night. Gave away a penalty and got booked later, he looked frustrated here.
Amalfitano 5/10 Had some good moments, but all in all lacked penetration.
Valbuena 5/10 For his standards, looked below par. The Germans generally did a good job restricting him.
Jordan Ayew 6/10 Operated on the left wing and proved once again he is a versatile and adaptable player. Fired in a few good crosses and his contribution was mostly positive.
Remy 4/10 Physically he looks much better now, just needs to regain confidence mentally. The time has come for him to convert some of his chances, starting on Sunday night vs. Lyon.
Andre Ayew 6/10 Played the last 25 mins and was probably OMs best man on the field after they went 2-0 down. Looked much better and refused to give up, crossing was improved.
Raspentino N/A Only played the last 14 mins, so hard to give him a rating. He didn’t really do much though.
Cheyrou N/A Only played the last 7 mins, so unrated.