Monthly Archives: July 2014

Hommage A Depe

Depe 1

Hommage A Depe

When most think of ‘ultras’, they see a faceless mass of men, often viewed from the outside as intimidating and hooliganesque. Most don’t see the people behind the group, the individuals who love their team and club, who follow them to opposite ends of the country and across continents. They don’t see the people who live for the match day, who round up the supporters, start the chants, organise and unfurl the tifo banners and stay behind to tidy everything up again. Patrice de Peretti, more affectionately known as Depe, was one of those men, and he died 14 years ago at the tender age of 28.

Depe began his support with the ‘South Winners’ group. He attended most matches, and in 1989 when travelling to see OM take on AEK Athens, he saw a group of AEK ultras shirtless. That inspired him to attend all OM matches shirtless, whatever the weather, it didn’t matter if it was 30*C in Mediterranean sunshine or -12*C in Berlin winter.

Depe 3

He became well known and was popular with players and other supporters groups, even being permitted to lift the Champions League trophy at the Velodrome. In 1994, Depe left the South Winners group and set up the MTP (Marseille Too Powerfull) ultra group in the Virage Nord, the group now boasts over 3000 members.

Unfortunately Depe died of an anuyrism on 28th July 2000. The north corner of the Velodrome bears his name in honour of the man who inspired thousands of OM supporters. The following game the crowd and players united in remembrance for Depe, the players even standing in front of the Virage Nord topless in honour of the hero.

Depe 2

RIP Depe

 

Pre-season Part III: Marseille 5-0 Willem II

Having seen off notable opposition in previous friendlies in the form of Bayer Leverkusen and Benfica, OM had faced what should be an easier opposition in the form of Dutch side Willem II. Despite spending last season in the Dutch 2nd division, they earned promotion back to the Eredivisie at the first time of asking, having finished 1st last season.

via OM.net

Sun 27th July – 18:00

Marseille 5-0 Willem II (Thauvin, Imbula, Batshuayi 2, Cheyrou)

Stade Olympique, Albertville

Samba

Dja Djedje  Romao  Morel  Mendy

Payet  Lemina  Imbula

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

Subs: Mandanda, Nkoulou, Sparagna, Amalfitano, Bangoura, Cheyrou, Porsan-Clement, A. Ayew, Batshuayi

 

Playing a more traditional 4-3-3 formation, Marcelo Bielsa welcomed Mandanda, Nkoulou and Andre Ayew back to the match day squad, although none were deemed fit enough to start from the beginning. They all played their part in an emphatic win though as OM hit 5 past their Dutch opposition, with Thauvin scoring and assisting and new signing Batshuayi netting his 2nd and 3rd goals in 3 OM games.

The game started evenly with both Samba and Ondaan being called into action early on. As the first half progressed though OM began to take control. After giving away a free-kick just outside their penalty area, Thauvin made Willem II pay, as he curled the free-kick into the near post leaving Ondaan clutching fresh air.

Taking over Payet’s recent role as master-creator, Thauvin then set up Marseille’s 2nd goal 4 minutes later. His run down the right and hold up before crossing allowed OM players to swarm the box, Thauvin’s accurate cross found Imbula who chested down before shooting past 3 Willem II players.

OM could have made it 3 before half-time with Imbula and Alessandrini both going close, before some excellent play between Mendy, Gignac and Alessandrini saw OM go agonisingly close again.

Half-time brought about the usual raft of changes with Batshuayi replacing Gignac, 2 of Marseille’s World Cup representatives, Nkoulou and Andre Ayew replacing Thauvin and Romao, and perhaps most significantly Steve Mandanda, returning from his neck injury in the final game of the season, replacing Brice Samba, who has performed tremendously well during the pre-season.

Unfortunately, as soon as the 2nd half kicked off, Willem II looked as though they were going to spoil the welcome back party! They improved their passing, movement and were getting into dangerous positions, putting in some shots that almost troubled Mandanda. Although this was worrying to watch for a little while, Willem II, didn’t really get any shots on target, but it may give Bielsa and his team some food for thought in preventing the opposition from creating chances.

After 10 minutes of domination, Willem II let the game slip beyond their grasp. As Payet picked up the ball he played in Batshuayi. Although it initially looked to be going out of play, the Belgian managed to beat the ‘keeper to the ball, take it round a defender the the keeper and shoot into the far post. This showed determination, skill and composure from the Belgian, who has looked an exciting prospect.

The game stagnated somewhat over the next 20 minutes with both teams seemingly accepting an OM win. But in the 80th minute Cheyrou added a 4th to the score-sheet. Andre Ayew picked up the ball on the OM left and whipped in a deep cross. Cheyrou volleyed into the ground and into the far post, back across goal for his first OM goal of the pre-season.

As OM suddenly picked up and looked for a 5th in the final 10 minutes Amalfitano broke into the box only to be felled and win OM a penalty. After some discussion between Ayew and Batshuayi it was the Belgian who stepped up to take the spot kick, convincingly sending the Willem II ‘keeper the wrong way to pick up his 3rd goal in 3 games (it seems as though his goal against Bayer Leverkusen was given as an own-goal).

Another convincing OM win, giving the Bielsa era a record of 3 wins from 3, 11 goals scored and 2 goals conceded. All players have managed to play the Bielsa systems, tactics and formations well, with substitutions slotting in seamlessly. It has also been excellent to see some of the youngsters getting pitch time and also playing well. In previous seasons, OM have had a strong starting 11, but looked weak beyond this. Bielsa has varied between a back 3 with only 1 recognised defender, to a back 5 with 4 recognised defenders, with neither of these systems demonstrating any major weaknesses. The beauty of Bielsa’s Marseille so far has been the work ethic and team spirit, but it’s excellent to see that the manager is already looking for potential ‘plan c’ and ‘plan d’ for games, which immediately puts him above his predecessors Baup and Anigo who rarely seemed to have any resemblance of a ‘plan b’.

 

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

270: Dja Djedje

244: Payet

227: Mendy

225: Samba, Romao, Lemina

206: Imbula

199: Alessandrini

186: Morel

185: Thauvin

135: Gignac, Batshuayi

129: Mendes

97: Amalfitano, Cheyrou

71: Sparagna

45: Sparagna, Mandanda, Nkoulou, A. Ayew

17: Porsan

7: Bangoura

 

Pre-season goals:

3: Batshuayi

2: Thauvin

1: Payet, Amalfitano, Gignac,  Imbula, Cheyrou

OG: Reinartz (Bayer04)

 

Pre-season assists:

4: Payet

1: Amalfitano, Batshuayi, Thauvin, A. Ayew

 

Allez l’OM

@MarseilleUK

@aswanny84

Pre-season Part II: Marseille 2-1 Benfica

Having beaten the Bundesliga’s 4th placed team on Saturday, it was clear that Wednesday’s game against Jorge Jesus’, 2014 league and cup double winning Benfica, would provide a much sterner test. Jesus has managed to get the Eagles working as a cooperative and cohesive unit, impressing many on their European travels over the past few seasons.

via OM.net

 

Wed 23rd July – 20:00

Marseille 2-1 Benfica (Gignac, Batshuayi; Gaitan)

Stade Gabriel-Montpied, Clermont

Samba

Romao  Lemina  Mendes

Imbula

Thauvin  Payet  Alessandrini

Gignac

Subs: Sparagna, Morel, Cheyrou, Amalfitano, Porsan-Clement, Batshuayi

Playing in Clermont there was a full house in attendance for the second OM friendly of the summer. Starting with a similar formation that comprehensively beat Bayer04 days earlier, Bielsa’s OM started well. Thauvin had the pick of the chances during the opening exchanges before Benfica opened the scoring.

The first goal came through a defensive error between Romao and Mendes, with Gaitan punishing OM as he beat Samba from the edge of the area.

Marseille stayed focussed though, keeping their position and discipline that had served them so well in the previous game. Once again it was Payet who was the instigator, perhaps benefiting from the extra attention that Thauvin and, ex-Clermont man, Alessandrini were being given. Payet added to his assist tally through a superb corner in the 20th minute which Gignac expertly dispatched.

The game was a good physical encounter with Dja Djedje and Thauvin for OM, Gaitan and Talisca for Benfica picking up bookings in the opening half. Although Bielsa may be a little annoyed with some slips in self-discipline for these bookings and set-pieces that were given away, it does demonstrate just how competitive a game this was throughout.

Bielsa made 2 changes at half time bringing on Sparagna, for his first team debut, replacing Lemina and Batshuayi replacing Gignac. After almost finding the net on his debut. Batshuayi only had to wait 10 minutes to get his first OM goal. Another beautifully weighted through-ball from Payet saw the Belgian take the ball round Moraes before slipping it into an empty net.

As the game continued to be played in a robust and competitive manner, one or two players over stepped the mark, namely Teixeira who was red-carded for Benfica after a poor lunge at Payet. Although Payet was stretchered off, and looked to be in some discomfort, he re-joined play shortly after.

As expected Benfica searched for an equaliser late on, but never managed to trouble Samba too much. Bielsa managed to make a few more changes including the introduction of Cheyrou and Amalfitano for Imbula and Thauvin, before giving Porsan-Clemente his first team debut. What a few months it has been for the youngster, having recently signing pro for OM after an impressive season with the U17’s last year.

A second successive win for OM under Bielsa. More impressively this came against much tougher opposition, and they came back from a goal down.

 

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

180: Samba, Dja Djedje, Romao, Payet

163: Mendy

140: Thauvin

135: Lemina, Alessandrini

129: Mendes

123: Imbula

96: Morel

90: Gignac, Bathshuayi

71: Amalfitano, Cheyrou

45: Sparagna

17: Porsan

 

Pre-season goals:

1: Thauvin, Payet, Amalfitano, Gignac, Batshuayi

OG: Reinartz (Bayer04)

 

Pre-season assists:

3: Payet

1: Amalfitano, Batshuayi

 

Allez l’OM

@MarseilleUK

@aswanny84

Pre season – Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Marseille

After much confusion over arranged friendlies, cancelled friendlies and newly arranged friendlies, along with doubt over the venue of OMs home games this season, Marseille eventually played their first game under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa on the 19th July in Austria against Bayer Leverkusen.

2 games later and Bielsa’s Marseille have a 100% record, showing some excellent discipline, attacking intent, structure and tactics that have been missing during the Baup/Anigo eras.

Payet Leverkusen

Sat 19th July – 19:00

Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Marseille (Yurchenko; Thauvin, Reinartz O.G., Amalfitano, Payet)

Stade SV Seekirchen, Austria

 

Samba

Dja Djedje  Romao  Lemina  Mendes  Mendy

Imbula

Thauvin  Payet  Alessandrini

Gignac

Subs: Fabri, Morel, Cheyrou, Amalfitano, Batshuayi

 

One of the many questions fans were excitedly asking ahead of Bielsa’s first game in charge of OM was ‘what crazy formation will El Loco’ start with?’ Knowing that Bielsa is something of a taskmaster, with huge expectations of his players, many have doubted how OM’s players would adapt to this level of discipline, having shown very little of it under previous managers.

Bielsa set out with an unusual line-up which varied between a defensive 5-1-3-1 and attacking 3-3-3-1. In the defensive 3, only Mendes was a recognised defender as Lemina and Romao joined him. Mendy and Dja Djedje supported as wing-backs, with Imbula sitting just in front of the defence. The attacking 4 of Alessandrini, Payet, Thauvin and Gignac was probably the most expected aspect of the squad.

The game started evenly with both teams creating chances, but failing to really test the opposition keeper. That all changed after 30 minutes when Payet played an excellent through-ball for Thauvin, beating the high Leverkusen defensive line, Thauvin composed himself and beat Leno when one-on-one. Leverkusen looked the most likely to score during the rest of the first half, but only tested Samba once.

During the interval Bielsa made 3 changes, bringing on Morel, Cheyrou and Batshuayi in pace Mendy, Alessandrini and Gignac. The changes worked well with all 3 players fitting into the system seamlessly. Just before the hour mark, OM doubled their lead. New boy, Batshuayu broke down the left and attempted to cross, only for Bayer defender Reinartz to deflect the ball into his own goal.

Amalfitano looked to have put the game beyond the Germans with an audacious lob on 78 minutes, only for Yurchenko to leave Samba with no chance with a good strike. Amalfitano continued to look impressive though and he added to his performance with an assist for Payet’s goal only a minute later.

The slightly more physical side to the game looked as though it may take over in the dying minutes, but thankfully most remembered that this was a pre-season friendly.

The win was an emphatic way for Marcelo Bielsa to begin his tenure at OM, with a number of Marseille players impressing with excellent performances, for both themselves and the team as a whole. Particular standouts were Imbula, Amalfitano, Payet and Thauvin.

 

 

Allez l’OM

@MarseilleUK

@aswanny84