18/08/13 – Ligue 1 Game 2
Marseille 2-0 Evian
Stade Velodrome, Att. 42,524
They say the sign of a good team is one which still manages to win when it doesn’t play well. OM pretty much did exactly that here and picked up a flattering 2-0 success against an Evian side that probably deserved at least a draw out of the encounter. The hosts scored two excellent goals through Gignac and Payet, but over the course of the 90 mins they didn’t really create too many chances. It was Pascal Dupraz’s outfit who looked the more threatening but they lacked a finishing touch in front of goal. Ultimately, the difference between the two teams was a couple of extra classy moments which Evian didn’t have.
The game started in the heat of the afternoon and clearly this had an affect on the players throughout the whole contest. The first major occasion of the game fell Evian’s way and it originated from an excellent Ehret run and cross on the left hand side. The defence was caught out and it ultimately needed Steve Mandanda to make a good save to prevent a goal. Evian should’ve been ahead and regretted that miss just a few minutes later when Gicnac scored. It was really a goal out of nothing as Rod Fanni propelled a long ball forward. OM’s leading marksman from last season still had loads of work to do, but he turned Mensah superbly before unleashing an unstoppable left foot shot into the back of the net. It was a truly excellent goal and just what OM needed after a slow start.
The hosts couldn’t build on this lead though and in all truth didn’t create another veritable occasion in the first half. It was Evian who were more lively and could’ve easily found themselves level a couple of times. Mandanda had to be quick off his line to deny Benezet, whilst Kevin Berigaud fired over the bar when well placed. OM led 1-0 at HT but needed to improve in the 2nd half or else their advantage wouldn’t last.
Both sides had early shouts for a penalty at the start of the 2nd period,
but neither were convincing enough and the referee waved away all protests. Payet had a shot from a decent position but couldn’t find the target and then close to the hour mark Souley Diawara should’ve done better when unmarked at the back post. The big defender could only head tamely though and then just a couple of moments later at the other end, Evian had a huge chance to equalise. Bertoglio was in acres of space on the left, but couldn’t quite find Berigaud in the middle. Benezet then missed the the resulting chance and he misfired his shot.
This was a huge let off for OM and they responded. Andre Ayew was unlucky not to win a penalty before Dimitri Payer scored his 3rd goal in 2 games thanks to a great individual effort. He controlled a Valbuena through ball before twisting and turning the defence and then drilling a low shot into the net. OM were 2-0 up thanks to a couple of great goals but this advantage masked some deficiencies. Evian had yet more chances to register a goal before the close. Sougou fired wide, whilst both Nsikulu and Mensah had decent efforts saved by Mandanda. If they’d shown some composure in the final third, the result of this match could’ve been very different.
Things I liked
The goals. Both were really excellent and they show the fact that even when OM are having an off day, they now have more than one match winner who can save them thanks to an individual attempt.
Payet -Gignac – Valbuena triangle. Payet has really settled into the side well and looks so much at home in an OM shirt. His class and skill is a massive upgrade on what we had last season on the right wing. These three players already seem to have a great understanding and connection with each other, which is great to see.
Captain leading by example. The backline looked shaky in this match, but the last man of resistance Steve Mandanda was imperious. His form was great in this match and dominated in so many ways. Constantly seemed alert and made some very good saves. Massive improvement on the Guingamp performance and proved that was just a small blip
Le Stade Velodrome. Ok, so one side of it is under construction still and won’t be finished until next summer, but this stadium is really starting to take shape now. I really like the architectural design and its going to look superb when fully complete.
Things I didn’t like
The defence & its tactics. Its clear the backline has been asked to push up a lot more this season, which at times is working. But on other occasions OM are finding themselves really exposed. They’ve gotten away with it facing Guingamp and Evian because neither of them have taken their chances, but a good quality attack won’t be as generous against us.
Jeremy Morel. I just don’t see how he can keep being the starter if he maintains poor performances like this one. He’s constantly out of position and tries to bomb forwards too much. Fine as a backup left back, but Mendy is going to be a stud first choice for OM compared to him.
Lack of chances created. OK, so I praised the attacking trio earlier, but there was also a lack of chances created here. Evian are hardly world beaters yet we struggled to gain clear cut opportunities. If this was someone like PSG they’d have had 20+ shots or something and probably won 3 or 4 nil. I want to see us really dominate these type of games completely against weaker teams.
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Player ratings (out of 10) – Mandanda 7, Fanni 4, N’Koulou 5, Diawara 5, Morel 3, Romao 5, Imbula 4 (Cheyrou 5), Payet 6 (Amalfitano 4), Valbuena 6 (Kadir, not rated), A Ayew 5, Gignac 6.
Man of the match – Mandanda.
His influence here is underestimated. Payet and Gignac will grab the headlines but his authority at the back was really important. Souley Diawara made it into lequipe’s team of the week, but I don’t know how. Ok, he played alright but nothing special in my opinion.
Evian: Laquait, Wass, Sabaly, Mongongou, Mensah, Ehret (72′ Cambon), Bertoglio (63′ Sougou), Barbosa (63′ N’Sikulu) , Sorlin, Berigaud, Benezet
Elie Baup: ‘It was a difficult game in difficult conditions. We did not have enough juice to get forward more. Imbula was hit on the ankle early in the game. He will see the doctor, but there is a slight sprain.’ (From OM.net)
Other Ligue 1 games
Sochaux 1-3 Lyon
Toulouse 1-1 Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne 1-0 Guingamp
Reims 2-1 Lille
Nice 2-1 Rennes
Bastia 2-0 Valenciennes
Monaco 4-1 Montpellier
Lorient 2-1 Nantes
psg 1-1 Ajaccio