Tag Archives: Bielsa

Labrune, Fit for Purpose?

Labrune

Irish Marseille fan Kevin Galvin (@shefellover93) questions OM President Vincent Labrune’s ability to govern one of the world’s most unique and passionate clubs.

As the dust settles on a charged Olympico derby, fingers are being pointed at those responsible for the terrible scenes that caused last night’s game to be suspended over 20 minutes, and will undoubtedly result in sanctions for l’OM and its supporters.

The source? Mathieu Valbuena; the former Marseille midfielder is currently in a lawsuit with the club to the tune of over half a million euros (£414,000) for issues arising with his agent. Valbuena believes that money he had to pay to his agent for breaking the contract should have, in fact, been paid by the club itself.

Valbuena’s lawyer says that current Marseille president Vincent Labrune made a ‘verbal agreement’ to pay the sum to agent Christophe Hutteau, and is now in the courts against Les Phocéens. The case was taken four days before the French international was due to return to the Vélodrome, before Valbuena himself was quoted as saying only the “true” Marseille supporters wouldn’t jeer him, and rather predictably, yet somewhat disturbingly his effigy was hanging on the roof of the Vélodrome as the teams came out to warm-up, a sign of things to come.

The game itself saw the hosts use what could comfortably be described as anti-tactics, trying to kick Lyon out of the opening exchanges, despite the fact that they themselves were more than capable of playing some decent football, as shown by Batshuayi’s great run leading to Alessandrini just shooting wide in the early moments.

However the narrative that dominated was some of the appalling and calculated fouling of Marseille. Remi Cabella was very lucky to have only gotten a caution after a dangerous two-footed tackle on Christophe Jallet. Valbuena was then taken out by Rekik, causing temperatures to rise on the pitch.

After Steve Mandanda just missed out the chase with Lacazette he brought the Lyon forward down, Lacazette converting himself to give Lyon the lead. The white hot atmosphere boiled over as Romain Alessandrini scythed through the back of Valbuena, and earned an admittedly harsh red card from referee, but again putting the attention, and the blame in the eyes of the Phocéens, on traitor Valbuena.

One man in particular that the blame is being put at is Marseille club president Vincent Labrune. The director’s comments during and following the incident have been pretty inexplicable, given the week that the club has been through. While Labrune isn’t known for measured response; videos of Marseille hooligans taking apart parts of Groningen before OM’s Europa League game against the Dutch side on Thursday, added to last night’s incident, the President’s reaction has been counter-productive, unprofessional and simply immature.

“I think everyone has to look at themselves in the mirror; I’ll be accepting my responsibilities as president, and I want everyone else to look at those at the Football Federation, the referees, and Olympique Lyonnais as well. The club accepts its responsibilities for the two or three bottles thrown onto the pitch”

But as the pictures show, it wasn’t just two or three beer bottles. Harmless paper balls were followed by a torrent of plastic beer bottles, and eventually a lit flare at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopez, before the players were eventually escorted from the pitch, riot police followed to protect the playing surface.

This is the man that should be wanting to avoid this kind of incident; but instead of accepting the obvious problem that, albeit a minority, fans in the Vélodrome last night were unable to behave themselves and that the game was postponed due to their actions, he would rather deflect the blame on parties that had very little to contribute to the situation.

Labrune is allegedly the reason why the whole Valbuena incident has gotten to the stage it has, over a year after the midfielder left the Mediterranean coast. He refused to comment following the disgusting scenes of hooliganism in Groningen, and has now totally stuck his head in the sand to a problem which almost caused the first abandonment in a Ligue 1 match due to crowd trouble.

Not only has he not accepted his own responsibilities by not acknowledging the extent of the problem, but he’s trying to lay the blame on parties that have little-or-nothing to do with it. Insinuating that the referees were part of last night’s problem is extremely dangerous and irresponsible on two fronts. First, it undermines fans’ responsibilities, regardless of what happens on the pitch, it also undermines the referee’s job, and need for impartiality, regardless of his decisions.

The fact is that last night’s referee Rudy Buquet called the game as he saw it; Mandanda did make contact with Lacazette, and while Alessandirini’s foul was borderline a red, the fact that Valbuena was being kicked up and down the pitch meant that the man in the middle had to ensure player safety, and therefore clamp down on the antics that Marseille were employing.

Labrune then tries to blame the Federation, for presumably hosting the game, and then Lyon, for what, turning up?! The away side kept playing despite the detritus pouring down on them, and then re-took the pitch to finish the game, surrendering their goal advantage in the process, something which I imagine OL officials will have something to say about when the issue is brought to the LFP.

This is not the first instance in which Labrune has proved himself unfit for purpose; empty promises, spats with managers, suspicions over illegal activity and ill-judged comments have plagued his tenure since taking over in 2011.

Meanwhile a disastrous transfer window has seen some of OM’s biggest stars depart while only Abou Diaby (on the Premier League’s list of most inured players of all-time) and Rémy Cabella (A man that made little-to-no impact at Newcastle) have been the only ones brought in.

With Biesla walking out after the first game during Marseille’s disappointing start to the season, ill-discipline plaguing the side, and now almost certain financial and supporter sanctions to hit Marseille after bad behaviour both home and away; Labrune’s refusal to combat these issues, and his feeble attempts to deflect attention onto others forces Marseille fans to ask if he is indeed the right man for the job.

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Marseille v ESTAC Troyes – 23/08/15

OM.net

OM.net

This weekend brings around OM’s 3rd game of the season, with their 3rd manager of the season as they still look for their first points of the campaign. New manager Michel was appointed earlier in the week and quickly took charge of training sessions, pitting the pro team against CFA squad and made it clear that he requires some investment into the squad. The week also brought about the much expected departure of the inconsistent Florian Thauvin that brought in Remy Cabella as part of the deal.

Michel brings experience having managed Getafe, Sevilla and Olympiakos and has experience in European competitions. He is expected to play a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation that the squad should be comfortable enough playing. Immediate changes Michel brought about is the first inclusion in the match day squad this season for Doria, the hot prospect, whose purchase caused so many issues between Bielsa and the board. Frank-Zmabo Aguissa also makes the squad alongside new-boy Remy Cabella. There is no Romao in the squad who is expected to depart imminently.

The full squad consists of: Pele, Madndanda, Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Doria, Sparagna, Mendy, Dja Djedje, Lemina, Diarra, Alessandrini, Cabella, Nkoudou, Sarr, Barrada, Frank-Zambo Aguissa, Ocampos, Batshuayi.

Off the pitch the Virage Nord closed again after incidents at the end of last season, their absence from the Velodrome today will be the last as the Yankee Nord groups return to the terraces for the next home game.

OM expected line-up:

Mandanda

Dja Djedje, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Lemina, Diarra

Alessandrini, Cabella, Ocampos

Batshuayi

Troyes have picked up 2 sraws from their opening fixtures, both of which have came at home (0-0 GFC Ajaccio and 3-3 with Nice). This is their first Ligue 1 game on the road this season, and you have to go back to 2001 to find their last win at the Velodrome, having lost the last 4 and drawing once since.

In their ranks they have Fabien Camus who began his career at OM and has just joined ESTAC from Genk, new signing Chris Mavinga is suspended, but striker Brayan Perea has joined the matchday squad after his switch from Lazio.

Predicting performance and results is always difficult and with new signings coupled with a new manager who knows what will happen on Sunday evening. Let’s hope for some stability, a solid performance, and the introduction of some new signings (and old signings). I’m sure Michel has learned a great deal about his team during the week, and will learn even more tonight.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

SC Bastia 3-3 Marseille: 09/08/14 Match Report

Marseille’s opening Ligue 1 game of the season was rather bittersweet as they surrendered a 3-1 lead to only bring home a single point from Corsica. A Gignac brace and Romaric OG had given OM the upper hand but a late resurgence from Bastia ensured the spoils where shared between 2 of Ligue 1’s newest managers.

 

Sat 9th August – 20:00

SC Bastia 3v3 Marseille

(Maboulou 2, Tallo: Gignac 2, Romaric OG)

Stade Armand Cesari, Bastia, Corsica – Att. 15,537

 Gignac Bastia

Mandanda

Sparagna  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Payet  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

Subs: Samba, Abergel, Mendes (>46 Sparagna), Cheyrou, Ayew (>60 Alessandrini), Batshuayi (>79 Payet), Porsan-Clemente

After a calm and respectful minutes applause in remembrance of the Furiani stadium disaster (read here), the game started in a fast and frenetic manner, with a hostile reception from the Corsican fans. The hosts started well, providing OM with some tough tackles, and creating some early half chances.

In the 8th minute they made this count as OM failed to clear their lines, Maboulou speculatively shot from 30 yards. His tremendously struck half-volley managed to dip just over Mandanda’s head giving the hosts the opening goal.

Only 2 minutes later though a well delivered cross from the left by Mendy was met perfectly by Gignac as he headed past Areola. The goal had come after OM had started to compose themselves a little more, with passes finding their intended target, and players running better with the ball.

Marseille then took the lead 5 minutes later as a Thauvin strike was deflected into his own goal by Romaric. Thauvin had picked up the ball on the OM right, and after skipping infield past a Bastia defender struck a shot with his left foot. As Romaric tried to clear, his wild swing sliced the ball past Areola.

The game continued in much the same way, with some ‘firm’ challenges and free-kicks being given away. On 21 minutes though, Bastia’s Diakite took this to the next level. As the ball was about to be met by Alessandrini’s head, Diakite dove in elbow first winning the ball but clattering Alessandrini at the same time. Referee Lionel Jaffredo deemed the incident only worthy of a yellow card, but Diakite should consider himself very lucky to have remained on the pitch.

It could be said that the referee’s failure to deal with that lead to further discipline issues later. After a very high challenge on Payet by Squillaci, Bastia captain Cahuzac then raised his hands to Gignac in the aftermath. Jaffredo decided that both incidents were not worthy of punishment.

Just before halftime Alessandrini did manage to round Areola and score but he had strayed offside just before Imbula played an excellent through-ball.

Squillaci was involved in the first major incident of the 2nd half too. His raised arms blocked a Gignac cross and Jaffredo immediately awarded the spot kick. Gignac tucked away the spot kick neatly into the bottom corner that ensured Areola had no chance despite correctly diving to his left.

Before OM could enjoy their 2 goal advantage, Bastia claimed a penalty of their own. Mendy stupidly had his arms wrapped around Maboulou and pulled the Bastia striker back as he turned ready to face Mandanda. Tallo stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Mandanda the wrong way and reduce the score to 2-3.

Maboulou was again involved on 73 minutes, when he grabbed the game’s final equaliser. As he powered into the OM penalty area, he kept possession of the ball with a lucky bounce, but the OM defending from Nkoulou and Morel was very sloppy. As the Marseille players ran into each other and failed to clear the ball or tackle, Maboulou managed to find space beyond the melee and shoot past Mandanda.

As the game crept towards full time both sides continued to probe for a potential winner, though fatigue started to play a part. Players struggled to get back into positions but many final balls were inaccurate and neither ‘keeper was really troubled.

As with Marseille’s other draw (pre-season 1-1 with Bari), OM will feel disappointed that they could not claim a win. They will rightly feel aggrieved by poor referee decisions again, but can be relatively satisfied with tacking a good point from a determined squad fighting for their new manager, at a venue where Marseille have historically struggled. Bielsa will is likely to have the team working hard on the training ground ahead of next week’s Velodrome opener against Montpellier. There was a great deal of ‘sloppy’ play from OM, and a lack of leadership in defence which was hugely evident in the Bastia equaliser for 3-3.

 

Ligue 1 Results:

Reims 2-2 psg

Evian 0-3 Caen

Guingamp 0-2 Saint-Etienne

Lille 0-0 Metz

Montpellier 0-1 Bordeaux

Nantes 1-0 Lens

Nice 3-2 Toulouse

Lyon 2-0 Rennes

Monaco 1-2 Lorient

SC Bastia v Marseille – 09/08/14 – Match Preview

Sat 9th August – 20:00

SC Bastia v Marseille

Stade Armand Cesari, Bastia, Corsica

 Via OM.net

Marseille’s Marcelo Bielsa era begins on Saturday evening against Corsican side SC Bastia. The clash will pit 2 new managers in Ligue 1 against each other as OM’s new head coach faces up against Claude Makelele, in his first managerial position.

OM come into the game full of confidence after a pre-season that contained an unbeaten record of 4 wins and 1 draw against some quality European competition.

Having invested well and spent hours drilling his new squad, Bielsa will also be relatively happy that he has managed to keep ahold of some of the more experienced OM players such as Mandanda and Nkoulou, despite recently losing Valbuena. The same cannot necessarily be said of Makelele, whose inexperience along management will be tested greatly without the experienced Laundreau and Khazri, despite some good investment with brining in Areola and Ayite as replacements.

Bielsa will be likely to start with a 3-3-1-3 formation used a great deal in friendlies, though the absence of Romao may keen some reshuffling of the defensive 3, with either Mendes or youngster Sparagna deputising. The flexibility of this formation has helped ensure the opposition are offered very little time on the ball in both midfield and in their attack. Most goals against in pre-season have came from a loose ball and snap-shot by the opponents attackers from around the edge of the 18 yard box. This will be something that Bielsa and the OM defence will be keen to prevent Mandanda from having to face, given that old boys Cisse and Brandao would be more than happy to cause an upset on the opening day of the season.

This formation and Bielsa’s attacking and winning mentality has also allowed OM to accrue 15 goals for in only 5 pre-season games. The refreshing approach of changing players and formations even saw OM with 6 attackers on the pitch at the end of the AS Bari game as OM searched for an equaliser and potential winner. Despite looking like he may be on his way out of the club, Payet has possibly impressed the most, looking skilful, fast and sharp with great vision, providing a number of key passes an assists along with Thauvin. Both of these players were just off their peak last season, so seeing them playing as they can is hugely encouraging. The same could be said of new signing, Batshuayi. Arriving from Belgium with a mixed reputation, 4 goals in 5 games has certainly helped to quash the criticisers.

OM likely lineup and formation:

Mandanda

Sparagna  Nkoulou  Morel

Dja Djedje  Imbula  Mendy

Payet

Thauvin  Gignac  Ayew

 

This should prove to be an exciting opener to the new season for both teams and could set out the rest of the season for both managers too. If Makalele suffers a defeat, it could be a long hard season for the Corsicans, equally, if Bielsa suffers a defeat then he will need a quick turnaround in fortunes in order to keep everyone happy, after such high hopes.

 

Allez l’OM

@Aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

Pre-season part V: Marseille 3-1 Cheivo Verona

Winning 3/4’s of pre-season games so far, was a very welcome return for the start of Bielsa’s reign at OM, though a 1-1 draw against AS Bari left the statistics looking slightly poorer than they should have. A final game against Chievo Verona, would at least offer the opportunity to get back to winning ways ahead of the season and keep up an unbeaten pre-season record.

 via OM.net

Sun 2nd August – 19:00

Marseille 3-1 Chievo Verona (Thauvin, Nkoulou, Gignac: Bertivoglio)

Stade de Fargues, Le Ponet, Avignon

Mandanda

Romao  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Ayew  Mendy

Payet  Batshuayi  Thauvin

Subs: Samba, Abergel, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Gignac

 

Despite difficult conditions throughout the game, Marseille kept their nerve and kept their unbeaten record intact, seeing off Cheivo Verona 3-1 thanks to goals from Thauvin, Nkoulou and Gignac to round off an extremely successful pre-season.

As with previous per-season games, Marseille started strong and kept possession well, getting into a number of exciting positions, creating chances early on. Seculin, in the Cheivo goal had been called into action a few times early on, making some good saves, but in the 17th minute, Thauvin cut in from the left and shot well for the opening goal.

The remainder of the first half continued in much the same way, but with the OM attacking players beginning to demonstrate more and more confidence, Payet in particular. Unfortunately, despite a number of half chances, Marseille couldn’t increase their advantage.

In the second half, OM opened the scoring through an Nkoulou header from Thauvin’s corner. This represents a good pre-season for Nkoulou, who had a shaky end to last season and a rather indifferent world cup with Cameroon. After much debate about his future, he seems to have settled into Bielsa’s routine and squad, and having had a goal disallowed against Bari, he made up for it against Cheivo.

Unfortunately, OM were unable to keep a clean sheet as Bentivoglio scored a stunner in the 65th minute. But, as the conditions continued to deteriorate, Gignac netted his 2nd goal of the pre-season as he capitalised on a Chievo defensive mistake.

 

 

Pre-season stats:

 

Games: 5

Won: 4

Drawn: 1

Lost: 0

Goals for: 15

Goals against: 4

 

Pre-season goals:

4: Batshuayi

3: Thauvin

2: Gignac

1: Payet, Amalfitano, Imbula, Cheyrou, Nkoulou

OG: Reinartz (Bayer04)

 

Pre-season assists:

4: Payet

2: Thauvin

1: Amalfitano, Batshuayi, A. Ayew

 

Pitch time (in minutes):

382: Dja Djedje

378: Romao

366: Payet

362: Mendy

339: Morel

338: Imbula

320: Thauvin

279: Lemina

270: Samba

230: Alessandrini

229: Gignac

225: Nkoulou

221: Batshuayi

198: Ayew

180: Mandanda

156: Mendes

155: Amalfitano, Cheyrou

143: Sparagna

108: Ayew

31: Porsan

14: Abergel

7: Bangoura

 

Allez l’OM

@MarseilleUK

@aswanny84

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