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.

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