After the international break, it feels hard to be up for the next game, against Lorient. Look back and we haven’t won in 5 games, are on the back of 3 straight defeats, 1 at the hands of Angers and one at the hands of Slovan Liberec, and another at the hands of that team from the capital. Add to that the punishment of stand closures from the Lyon game, which is still fresh in the memory, the threat of whole stadium closure and fine for this and you’ll excuse me if I’m not chomping at the bit for a Sunday lunch-time visit of Lorient (who last time we played them caned us 5-3 and ex-OM enigma Jordan Ayew bagged a brace and played out of his skin).
But then, I think back to that game in the capital. Another set of questionable decisions screwing us over, but actually that’s all that the performance had in common to previous years. On the pitch we had a squad, no a team, who actually performed to a level near their capabilities, gone was the usual OM squad who turned up and were blinded by the bright (spot) lights, disturbed by the glittery fireworks and blown away by the draft from all the plastic plastic-flag-waving supporters. Just like the OM fans, their team went out and just didn’t give a shit.
More of the same on Sunday would be nice to see from Michel’s team thank you. Play like that and 16th in the Ligue should soon become a distant memory, despite games against Lille, Nantes, ASSE and Monaco coming up. Perform like that and we should overcome the difficult trips to Braga and Liberec in the Europa League and should comfortably qualify for the next round. Perform like that and the OM faithful will be back on side no problem, as it would appear that Barrada, Cabella and Alessandrini are up to the task of filling big empty spaces from last year.
Michel has almost a full squad available with only Barrada missing from the usual first 11 team. Andonian and Isla also miss out.
Full squad: Mandanda, Pelé, Manquillo, Nkoulou, Mendy, Rekik, Rolando, Sparagna, De Ceglie, Dja Djédjé, Silva, Diarra, Cabella, Sarr, Romao, Zambo Anguissa, Ocampos, Alessandrini, Nkoudou, Batshuayi.
Expected starting 11:
Manquillo, Nkoulou, Reki, Mendy
Alessandrini, Cabella, Ocampos
Lorient head to the partially closed Velodrome having only suffered 1 defeat in their last 5, picking up a win on the road at Monaco and home victories over Angers, Caen and Bordeaux.
They sit 6 points above us in 9th after a solid start to the season, despite losing some key players over the summer.
Expected starting 11:
Paye, Kone, Toure, Goff
Jouffre, Ndong, Bellugou, Guerreiro