Monthly Archives: June 2014

Mercato Movement

With the delayed arrival of new manager Marcelo Bielsa, many wondered how long it would take OM to get going into the transfer market. But within the last week Marseille have announced 2 new signings: Romain Alessandrini from Rennes and Michy Batsuhayi from Standard Liege.

But it’s clear that Bielsa has been doing his research as well as taking info from his assistant Diego Reyes and the clubs hierarchy about who will be staying and leaving from the current crop of players and which areas need strengthening. That said, most will hope that OM make a move for a couple of defenders soon too.

The first signing was Marseille native Romain Alessandrini from Rennes for around 5m euros.

Alessandini

It’s been no secret that Marseille, perhaps specifically Labrune, have been after Alessandrini for some time now. They were linked with him last summer, but had also been tracking him when he initially signed for Rennes in 2012. The 25 year old is an attacking midfielder who can dribble well, cut in and shoot as well as take set-pieces. After a lengthy injury that ruled him out of the end of 12-13 season and beginning of 13-14 he returned and still managed 6 goals and 6 assists in 27 games, admittedly taking a while to feel his rhythm again.

In his first season at Rennes he set ligue 1 alight with scintillating performances, terrorising defences up and down France. Before his cruciate knee injury he’d managed to amass 10 goals and 5 assists in 22 games, but more importantly had been continually improving as was knocking on the door of the French national team.

Alessandrini told OM.net ‘I am very proud and I am very happy to sign today. We have big objectives for this season. It’s a big club, I will do all I can and give them the best possible’.

His arrival is hugely exciting for Marseille, as they have another of the ligue’s most exciting young French players at their disposal. With Bielsa at the helm, hopefully Alessandrini will continue to improve and refine his technique. The down side to the move is that it suggests to most that it will spell the end for one of Marseille’s more experienced attacking options, either Mathieu Valbuena or Andre Ayew. After both have managed excellent World Cups, it seems highly probable that OM will cash in on at least one of them.

Our second signing, Michy Batsuhayi, is probably a lesser known player in France, but the 20 year old Belgian striker arrives from Standard Liege with impressive statistics and was the stand by striker for the Belgium World Cup team.

Michy

In 36 appearances last season he netted 21 goals for Liege, making him 2nd top scorer in the Belgian Jupiler League (39 in 97 in total). But what about the player behind the stats? This is what Anne Ruwet (journalist for Standard TV & RTL Sport) and Stephane Pauwels (former manager, and recruiter for Valenciennes and Monaco now working with TF1, RTL, TVI & RMC) had to say on the player.

He has talent that is undeniable. He has great technical expertise, he can beat opponents in tight spaces and score from impossible angles. He can use both feet, a hard shot and is very fast with the ball. If I was manager of a foreign club, Michy is one of the few players in the Belgian league I would buy. He can be one of the best in Europe if he is well surrounded. He needs support and confidence from a manager, who can set specific rules and be strict, as he had a few problems at Liege.’ (link to original article)

The problems mentioned are a few run-ins with Liege fans and also the Belgium coach Johan Valem. He also had a confrontation with Ibrahima Cisse after inviting some young women back to the players’ hotel. But, if it’s support, structure and guidance Michy needs then Bielsa and he could be a perfect match. As part of the above interview, Ruwet and Pauwels, highlight Michy’s weakness in the air, but also that this is an area that the player is keen to improve. They also don’t see him as a replacement for Gignac, but someone who can complement him instead.

Given that APG has been linked with moves elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how Bielsa lines up his squad in friendlies, as it could be suggested that Gignac and Michy would be best suited as a joint strike force in an attacking two. This is different to the 4-2-3-1 formation the squad played with last season, but as most readers will know, Bielsa doesn’t conform to ‘normal’ formations or disciplines. He has been known to play an ultra-disciplined 3-3-1-3 which alters between a defensive 5-3-2 to an attacking 3-6-1, which could utilise both Gignac and Michy.

Whatever the outcome, the start of the summer has been a good one for OM, let’s hope that it continues!

Allez l’OM!

(@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)

 

World Cup 2014

French finesse, Cameroonian incompetence and unsuccessful Black Stars 

After an incredibly entertaining group stage and rest day the World Cup only has 16 more games and Marseille has only 1 remaining representative in the form of Mathieu Valbuena for France. They face Nigeria in the round of 16 and have every chance of making it to the 1/4 finals.

Nikolas N’Koulou (Cameroon):

Mexico 1-0 Cameroon

Cameroon 0-4 Croatia

Cameroon 1-4 Brazil

After a bizarre start, where the entire Cameroon squad refused to board the plane to Brazil over a pay dispute, they have managed back to back defeats and are heading home at the first hurdle. Regardless of what the players feel they are entitled to, they have not done themselves any favours with 2 tepid and abject performances against Mexico (0-1) and Croatia (0-4).In the final group game Cameroon started well, looking like they might just put a stop to the Brazilian World Cup dream. Even when Neymar opened the scoring it was against the run of play and it took Cameroon less than 10 minutes to find a reply. But just minutes later Neymar grabbed a 2nd and there was no turning back for the hosts who compounded a terrible World Cup for Cameroon by giving them their 2nd 4 goal defeat. N’koulou started in all 3 games and performed adequately, although he certainly hasn’t ‘put himself in the shop window’. It will be interesting to see what happens with manager Volkr Finke and the squad ahead of the next ACoN and World Cup. Given the player’s attitudes and performances, one could expect wholesale changes.

 

Mathieu Valbuena (France):

France 3-0 Honduras

Switzerland 2-5 France

Ecuador 0-0 France

A rather tepid 0-0 draw against Ecuador was France’s final group match, but they still won their group. In the final game the team missed the creativity of Valbuena amongst others as Deschamps made 6 starting changes. The now have a round of 16 game against Nigeria to look forward to on Monday, where Deschamps will likely line up with the team from the opening group games. Valbuena has shown on a world stage, just how good he can be with 1 assist and 1 goal, although there has been plenty more to his performances. If OM are to part company with ‘le pitit velo’ it will be a huge shame, although his performances in the World Cup should have added a few million euros to his meagre price tag.

 

Andre Ayew & Jordan Ayew (Ghana):

Ghana 1-2 USA

Germany 2-2 Ghana

Portugal 2-1 Ghana

Andre and Jordan Ayew can leave Brazil with heads held high having put in 3 excellent performances each. The whole Ghanaian squad will, however, wonder what could have been as a win over USA or Portugal could have clinched qualification for the Back Stars. This may sound obvious, but the quality of the Ghana performances cannot be understated. Both Andre and Jordan started in the opening game against USA, which resulted in a rather harsh defeat. Andre scored in the game where a draw would have been a much fairer result. In the 2nd game they picked up what could be seen as a respectable draw against a much fancied Germany. But, once again, the result doesn’t reflect the performance. A late equaliser from Klose, rescued Germany from a second half where Ghana could have netted another two or three. Andre Ayew scored again, but substitute Jordan also went close on a few occasions. All is not lost for Ghana, but qualification will most likely rely on a win for Germany over USA, ideally by 2 goals, and a Ghanaian win over Portugal, again by 2 goals. This would put both Ghana and USA on 4 points but Ghana on +1 goal difference, but USA on -1.

 

Groups:

A: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, Cameroon
B: Spain, Chile, Australia, Holland
C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
D: Uruguay, England, Costa Rica, Italy
E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
F: Argentina, Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria
G: Germany, Ghana, Portugal, USA
H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea


Games:

Thu 12.06.2014:
A Brazil 3v1 Croatia (Sao Paulo, 9pm)

Fri 13.06.2014:
A
 Mexico 1v0 Cameroon (Natal, 5pm)
B Spain 1v5 Holland (Salvador, 8pm)
B Chile 3v1 Australia (Cuiaba, 11pm)

Sat 14.06.2014:
C Colombia 3v0 Greece (Belo Horizonte, 5pm)
D Uruguay 1v3 Costa Rica (Fortaleza, 8pm)
D England 1v2 Italy (Manaus, 11pm) 
C
 Ivory Coast 2v1 Japan (Recife, 2am on 15.06)

Sun 15.06.2014:

E Switzerland 2v1 Ecuador (Brasilia, 5pm)
E France 3v0 Honduras (Porto Alegre, 8pm)
F Argentina 2v1 Bosnia (Rio, 11pm)

Mon 16.06.2014:
G
 Germany 4v0 Portugal (Salvador, 5pm)
F Iran 0v0 Nigeria (Curitiba, 8pm)
G Ghana 1v2 USA (Natal, 11pm)

Tue 17.06.2014:
H Belgium 2v1 Algeria (Belo Horizonte, 5pm)
A Brazil 0v0 Mexico (Fortaleza, 8pm)
H Russia 1v1 South Korea (Cuiaba, 11pm)

Wed 18.06.2014:
B Australia 2v3 Holland (Porto Alegre, 5pm)
A Cameroon 0v4 Croatia (Manaus, 8pm)
B Spain 0v2 Chile (Rio, 11pm)

Thu 19.06.2014:
C Colombia 2v1 Ivory Coast (Brasilia, 5pm)
D Uruguay 2v1 England (Sao Paulo, 8pm)
C Japan 0v0 Greece (Natal, 11pm)

Fri 20.06.2014:
D Italy 0v1 Costa Rica (Recife, 5pm)
E Switzerland 2v5 France (Salvador, 8pm)
E Honduras v1 2Ecuador (Curitiba, 11pm)

Sat 21.06.2014:
F Argentina 1v0 Iran (Belo Horizonte, 5pm)
G Germany 2v2 Ghana (Fortaleza, 8pm)
F Nigeria 1v0 Bosnia (Cuiaba, 11pm)

Sun 22.06.2014:
H Belgium 1v0 Russia (Rio, 5pm)
H South Korea 2v4 Algeria (Porto Alegre, 8pm)
G USA 2v2 Portugal (Manaus, 11pm)

Mon 23.06.2014:
B Australia 0v3 Spain (Curitiba, 5pm)
B Holland 2v0 Chile (Sao Paulo, 5pm)
A Cameroon 1v4 Brazil (Brasilia, 9pm) ITV1 or ITV4
A Croatia 1v3 Mexico (Recife, 9pm)

Tue 24.06.2014:
D Italy 0v1 Uruguay (Natal, 5pm)
D Costa Rica 0v0 England (Belo Horizonte, 5pm)
C Greece 2v1 Ivory Coast (Fortaleza, 9pm)
C Japan 1v4 Colombia (Cuiaba, 9pm)

Wed 25.06.2014:
F Nigeria 2v3 Argentina (Porto Alegre, 5pm)
F Bosnia 3v1 Iran (Salvador, 5pm)
E Honduras 0v3 Switzerland (Manaus, 9pm)
E Ecuador 0v0 France (Rio, 9pm) BBC1

Thu 26.06.2014:
G USA 0v1 Germany (Recife, 5pm)
G Portugal 2v1 Ghana (Brasilia, 5pm) BBC1 or BBC3
H South Korea 0v1 Belgium (Sao Paulo, 9pm)
H Algeria 1v1 Russia (Curitiba, 9pm)

Sat 28.06.2014:
Brazil v Chile (Belo Horizonte, 5pm)
Colombia v Uruguay (Rio, 9pm)

Sun 29.06.2014: 
Netherlands v Mexico (Fortaleza, 5pm)
Costa Rica v Greece (Recife, 9pm)

Mon 30.06.2014: 
France v Nigeria (Brasilia, 5pm)
Germany v Algeria (Porto Alegre, 9pm)

Tue 01.07.2014: 
Argentina v Switzwerland (Sao Paulo, 5pm)
Belgium v USA (Salvador, 9pm)

Fri 04.07.2014: 
QF1 France/Nigeria v Germany/Algeria (Rio, 5pm)
QF2 Brazil/Chile v Colombia/Uruguay (Fortaleza, 9pm)

Sat 05.07.2014: 
QF3 Argentina/Switzerland v Belgium/USA (Brasilia, 5pm)
QF4 Netherlands/Mexico v Costa Rica/Greece (Salvador, 9pm)

Tue 08.07.2014:
SF1 
?? v ?? (Belo Horizonte, 9pm)

Wed 09.07.2014: 
SF2 ?? v ?? (Sao Paulo, 9pm)

Sat 12.07.2014:
3rd/4th PO 
?? v ?? (Brasilia, 9pm)

Sun 13.07.2014:
Final 
?? v ?? (Rio, 8pm)

Fernandao Passes Away

Fernandao

Former OM striker Fernandao has sadly died in a helicopter crash in his native Brazil, around 20km from Goias. The Brazilian was tragically only 36 years old.

Signing for OM in 2001 from Goias, Fernandao went on to make 74 appearences for Marseille and netted 9 times. After a brief spell on loan with Toulouse he travelled back to Brazil, where he continued to play for another 7 years, making 162 appearances and scoring a total of 63 goals for Internacional, Al Gharafa (Qatar), Goias and Sao Paulo. During this time he gained his only Brazilian cap against Guatemala where he managed to provide an assist for Fred.

He remained in contact with a number of friends he made during his time in Marseille including Jose Anigo.

The club has expressed their deepest condolences to his family and friends here, as do we here at MarseilleUK.

 

R.I.P. Fernandao

Lens Look to Play Away

Due to the ongoing renovation work at the Stade Felix Bollaert, newly promoted Lens are seeking to play a number of games away from their home ground. They are currently in discussions with northern-neighbours Lille and Valenciennes, but will look to utilise Paris’ Stade de France for the games against psg, Saint-Etienne and Marseille. If their request is successful it would see OM play in Paris against Lens for game 30 (21/03/15), before hosting Parisians, psg, the following game (04/04/15).