Tag Archives: Cabella

Cabella – a gamble not paying off

It’s 2:45pm local time and the eerie silence has just been severed by the piercing sounds of whistles on the South coast of France. With two sides closed off by the LFP, and the other two half-empty, le Vel’ has barely looked sadder in its 80 year history.

The whistles in the stands follow that of the match’s referee, Mikael Lesage, who has just signalled the end of Olympique Marseille’s latest disappointment in Ligue 1. The Phoceéns, who have lost the core of their side, their manager, their Ultras, and their fourth game in eight, now find themselves in 14th position after one of their worst ever starts in the top division.

It’s been a pretty tough 10 days for all those involved at the club, in a season full off disappointments so far; poor results against Toulouse and now Angers followed a 1-1 draw against Lyon, in a game that’s antics did more to damage the club than the point gained could ever repay.

More worrying however for the Phocéens, were the limp and insipid displays that followed on the pitch against Toulouse, and then on Sunday against newly promoted Angers. Fingers have been pointed squarely at Vincent Labrune, and rather unfairly in my opinion at Michel, come in to right a listing ship, but in truth much of the blame must lie with the players themselves.

Take the case of Remy Cabella; the 25 year-old had already won a Ligue 1 title with Montpellier, and signed a six-year deal with Newcastle United in 2014 and was expected to do great things on Tyneside. However, in reality the midfielder was largely disappointing, and with only one goal and two assists in 31 appearances, the Toon were only delighted to ship him back out on loan, and welcome Florian Thauvin, a far more consistent performer.

Cabella’s was Marseille’s biggest signing in the summer (Unless you count sicknote Abou Diaby from Arsenal), and it was hoped the French international would at least partly make up for the losses of Dimitri Payet, and the aforementioned Thauvin; yet nothing could have been further from the truth.

Cabella has done virtually nothing positive to contribute since he’s arrived in Marseille; six games, zero assists, zero goals. As a matter of fact, the only number to his name has been the two yellow cards he’s picked up, and the consistent low scores he’s been receiving on his player ratings. Conversely, the Corsican native has contributed directly to Marseille’s last two disappointing results, missing a sitter against Toulouse on Wednesday, and committing a criminal foul for Angers’ penalty on Sunday.

Angevian left-back Arnold Bouka Moutou’s run down the flank was threatening, but Manquillo had come across the cover, and with the visiting defender facing away from goal it seemed like the situation had been contained. That was, until, Rémy arrived, scything through the back of Moutou and changing the game. Having dominated the early exchanges and out-shooting their opponents 5-1, OM were now a goal behind and chasing the game in the second-half.

Cabella himself admitted his own poor form after the game in Toulouse, and perhaps his rashness in Sunday’s game was an over-zealous attempt to put things right; however as a now seasoned professional that expected level of maturity has been badly lacking thus far. It also must be said that the Gazélec Ajaccio youngster isn’t the only expected leader on the pitch who has failed to show the way.

Going through the squad; N’Koulou, De Ceglie, Dja Djé Djé, all players on Sunday who you’d expect to galvanise the side following the penalty, and all players who where nowhere to be found as Olympique’s lack of  backbone was plain to see. Romain Alessandini was watching from the stands, still suspended after a needless sending off for a brainless tackle on super-villian Valbuena the week before. Lucas Ocampos summed it up in the final moments; caught in possession dawdling with four team-mates unmarked in the area, the chorus of whistles were frankly merited.

It comes as no great surprise, however, as Marseille try to deal with the gutting of their side in the off-season, and though it’s still early, Michel will almost certainly have to target the next transfer window to make up for the trail of destruction left behind by Marcelo Biesla’s departure. Key players in key positions have not been adequately replaced, and the new players are trying to stamp their authority under extreme pressure, as the older heads, Steve Mandanda to name one, try to hold everything together.

Will things get better for Les Phocéens? Possibly. But with a trip to Paris on Sunday to face a supremely confident PSG, things are very likely get a whole lot worse beforehand.

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Marseille v Lyon – ‘Olympico’ Match Preview – 20/09/15

OMOL

The ‘Olympico’, a term some love and some hate, but regardless of your thoughts about its title there’s no doubt that the competition around this game over the past few seasons has become more and more intense. With both teams pushing towards the top of Ligue 1 more recently, regardless of the ‘history’ of the game, there’s no doubt that it means a great deal to the fans and the players. With the return of Valbuena to the Velodrome this season, there’s perhaps even more at stake.

OM approach the game after back to back wins for the first time under Michel, having seen off Bastia at home 4-1 last week, OM achieved their first away win of the campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Dutch opponents Groningen in the Europa League. The win was achieved with an unexpected starting 11 that contained 6 changes to the side that turned over Bastia. In Europe, OM unusually played as more of a counter-attacking side, having less possession than their opponents for the first time since Bielsa took charge. This worked well though for OM as they created a number of chances from these breaks, and against sides like Lyon and psg this could be a successful way forward.

Michel has Diarra fit for the match, but Dja Djedje. Ocampos and Rolando are all rested. The squad could well be looking for the experience and cool headedness from Diarra that they have often lacked in the ‘big’ games of the past few seasons. Diaby is still yet to feature again as he continues his progress towards match fitness. It would be no surprise to see Michel start with the same side that beat Bastia last Sunday.

The full OM squad: Mandanda, Pele, De Ceglie, Manquillo, Mendy, Nkoulou, Rekik, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Barrada, Cabella, Diarra, Isla, Romao, Sarr, Silva, Zambo Anguissa, Batshuayi, Nkoudou.

Likely starting 11:

Mandanda

Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Diarra

Alessandrini, Silva, Barrada, Cabella

Batshuayi

Lyon come into the game on the back of 2 draws, 0-0 at home against Lille and 1-1 away in Gent (UCL). Prior to this Hubert Fournier’s side have also struggled to get going this season picking up a point Lorient, 3 away at Guingamp and Caen, whilst suffering a defeat at the hands of Rennes. Lyon will be without Fofana and Fekir, while Kone and Rafael are both doubts. Former OM hero, Valbuena, returns as the pantomime villain having returned to France after a season with Dynamo Moscow. OM had initially retired his number 28 shirt when he left, however none expected him to return to France, especially not with one of OM’s major rivals. Another former OM ‘hero’, Morel, also returns to the Velodrome although it would be fair to say his reception could be far more lenient than that of Valbuena who is views as more of a ‘traitor’ (Valbuenain). Morel was a love-hate figure at OM who grew to be liked more towards the end of his tenure at the club through his effort and endevours, though he was always susceptible to the odd howler. Valbuena and Beavue are likely to be the dangermen, but the OM defensive line can’t forget about Lacazette who will be desperate to rekindle his form from last season and get back on the good side of the OL fans.

The view of @OLnews_eng:

Saying that OL is preparing this first huge league matchup of the season with limited confidence is an understatement. Coming off a very, very disappointing result in Champions League, OL has only showed glimpses of the free-flowing possession football that made them a title contender last season. If the defence is relatively satisfying (4 clean sheets in 5 league games), new signings Rafael and Yanga Mbiwa have been mostly average in the back. They’ll both miss out the Olympico, pushing Fournier towards a tried-and-tested backline with Bedimo, Bisevac, Umtiti and Jallet. OL’s main weakness has been its midfield. Gonalons’ still far from his best level, while Tolisso and especially Ferri have struggled early after enjoying breakout seasons last year. Valbuena’s been one of the most consistent performers, but can’t do it all in midfield. OL’s costliest signing of the summer, Spanish mid Sergi Darder, could make his debut but probably isn’t ready to go a full 90 minutes. He could help a team that has struggled when facing a high pressure, like against Rennes or Gent. Up top, Lacazette’s goal drought continues and his partnership with Beauvue still doesn’t seem very natural. The former Guingamp man has shown glimpses of brilliance, with a wonderful goal against Caen and a late game-winner in Guingamp. But he has tended to disappear from games a bit too much, and it’s obvious his partners still need to understand better how he likes to receive the ball and how he times his runs.

Likely starting 11:

Lopes

Jallet, Yanga-Mbiwa, Umtit, Morel

Ferri, Gonalons, Tolisso

Valbuena

Lacazette, Beavue

At the Velodrome OM certainly have history on their side having won 20 games to Lyon’s 10, with another 15 games ending in draws. 3 of the last five games have been draws including last years 0-0 which came after emphatic wins for both Olympion’s before hand, 4-2 to OM in 2013/14 after a 4-1 reverse in 2012/13. There is a great deal riding on the outcome for  both teams to give a statement of intent which could see them get their season on track.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@marseilleuk

Guingamp 2-0 Marseille – 28/08/15 – Match Report

Guingamp 2-0 Marseille

(Privat, Benezet)

Mandanda – Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy – Diarra (Sparagna 82) – Lemina, Barrada (Ocampos 64) – Alessandrini, Batshuayi, Cabella (Sarr 76)

Subs N/U: Doria, Romao, Pele, Zambo-Anguissa

from OM.net

A week after securing their first Ligue 1 win of the season in convincing style, OM helped another Ligue 1 team to do the same, as they stuttered to an underwhelming 0-2 defeat at the hands of Guingamp.

Despite dominating long periods of possession (31%61) and having 14 shots on goal, OM couldn’t find the breakthrough in the final 1/3 of the pitch and the hosts efforts and endeavours allowed them to run out winners in the end.

After receiving the plaudits for an impressive performance against Troyes, Diarra gave OM the worst possible start as he gave away a penalty inside 60 seconds after a clumsy foul. Mandanda saved, but the penalty was poor. Diarra’s initial indiscretion was continued throughout the game as OM eventually picked up 6 bookings before full time, showing a surprising lack of discipline.

After 10 minutes OM gained some good possession, keeping control of the ball and building up to around 79% possession by the 15 minute mark, but this didn’t trouble Lossl too much still. Most of OM’s chances came through Batshuayi’s endeavours, as he ran, dribbled and took players on after struggling to receive anything near the quality he was provided with last week against Troyes. Diarra struggled to gain a foothold in midfield along with Barrada, whilst Cabella’ and Alessandrini’s contributions were sporadic at best and both lacked the final ball.

Mendy had a difficult night against Coco, however much of this could be put down to picking up a booking after only 15 minutes and having to hold back for the rest of the game. It felt as though he had to hold back from pushing forwards and so there was limited offensive work from him and Jacobsen managed well against the occasional attack down the OM left.

Having struggled in front of goal so far this season as we approached the final 20 minutes of the game, most could be forgiven for perhaps expecting a drab 0-0 draw, although us OM fans should know better than that. Guingamp’s first goal came after a foul on Cabella. EAG immediately broke up field. Briand rode his luck a little as he took the ball past 2 OM players and played in Privat for an easy finish, however, it must also be noted that in the initial ball up-field, Privat was clearly offside and as a result, the goal probably shouldn’t have counted. However, it did and this gave OM a slight push to look to attack.

Marseille managed to net, but this was correctly judged offside (unlike the Guingamp goal). As OM’s desperation deepened, Guingamp delivered the killer blow, a second goal, this time by Benezet. It must be said that it was a neat finish.

Are there any positives to take from the game? Hmm, not really. Some good saves from Mandanda, Batshuayi can create his own chances and erm, well I’m struggling to be honest. OM lacked discipline throughout and service was poor in the final 1/3 of the pitch as, there also seemed to be very little in the form of a ‘Plan B’, perhaps this is because there is no alternative to ‘Plan Batshuayi’, at least last season Gignac and Batshuayi offered something different to each other, they complemented each other in that they were contrasting and if it didn’t work with one, it could work with the other.

If nothing else, hopefully this game has served that as a reminder to Michel, and far more importantly to Labrune. This squad and backroom team has been decimated since the end of last season, a new manager and one win is not going to turn that around overnight. Get buying!!

Allexz l’OM!

Guingamp v Marseille – 28/08/15

OM team

Having started week 3 with their 3rd manager, no wins and the lowest Ligue goal-scorers, an emphatic win over Troyes took OM from the foot of the table and to the Ligue’s joint highest scorers, bringing some much needed pride and confidence to the Velodrome. Some excellent performances from new signings Diarra and Cabella along with solid performances from Mendy, Batshuayi and Alessandrini were the pick of the bunch, though everyone played their part.

The 6-0 win certainly hit the headlines, but as good as OM were, the second half performance from Troyes meant that as good as OM were, most Ligue 1 teams would probably have put a number of goals past Troyes as they completely collapsed and looked as dejected a side I have ever seen. So another week and another test for Michel and his squad. The result against Troyes will be quickly forgotten in aid of more ‘crisis-club’ headlines should OM fail to pick up a win over bottom of the Ligue, Guingamp, who have failed to register a goal or point so far this season.

Michel has managed to bolster his squad already with the loan of Real Madrid’s Lucas Silva, though he isn’t available for the match-day squad yet, Dja Djedje misses out through the injury he received before the Troyes match, so Romao returns to the squad after his suspension. Given the performance against Troyes it is likely that Michel will name the same starting 11.

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

OM expected line-up:

Mandanda

Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Lemina, Diarra

Alessandrini, Barrada, Cabella

Batshuayi

A trip to Guingamp is never easy, OM have won as many games there as they have lost (3 each with 2 draws too), and Joeclyn Gourvennec will want to bring some cheer to the home faithful after a poor start to the season. After the highs of last season’s Europa League exploits, many expected Guingamp to make a positive start to this season without continental distractions, however, 3 straight losses to Nantes, Lyon and Bastia have left the club bottom of Ligue 1.

Life was always going to be difficult for Guingamp after losing last season’s top scorer, Caludio Beauvue to Lyon and as a result they’ve failed to find the back of the net so far. Their average of 4 shots on target per game, compared to OM’s 5 showing the difference a week can make to how clinical a team can appear statistically in front of goal.

Expected Guingamp line up

Lossl

Jacobsen, Kerbrat, Sorbon, Leveque

Salibur, Mathis, Sankhare, Giresse

Benezet, Briand

 

Coming off the back of such a big win, OM will have to perform well again. This will keep morale and confidence high amongst the squad ahead of tougher games (Lyon and psg in the next 5 games) and demonstrate to other teams and the press that the Troyes game was not just a flash in the pan.

 

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

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