Tag Archives: Gignac

Guingamp 0-1 Marseille: 23/08/14 Match Report

Sat 23rd August – 16:00

Guingamp 0v1 Marseille

(Gignac)

Stade Municipal du Roudourou, Giongamp – Att. 16, 901

 from OM.net

Marseille finally picked up their first win at the third time of asking, but made hard work of it against a poor Guingamp team. Bielsa’s side had the lions-share of possession and chances, however it was a sole goal from Andre-Pierre Gignac immediately after the interval the settled the result.

 

Mandanda

Romao  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Payet  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Ayew

Subs: Samba, Abergel, Sparagna, Alessandrini (’88 >Gignac), Barrada (’59 >Payet), Bangoura, Batshuayi (’45 >Thauvin)

 

OM started the game positively, playing with some confidence that had been missing in last week’s shocking show against Montpellier. Passing and movement led to Marseille controlling the game from the outset and they began making the Samassawork in the Guingamp goal quickly. Dja Djedje and Payet first wen close, then Gignac and Thauvin worked the ‘keeper and woodwork a number of times each.

Despite this though both sides went in equal at half time where Bielsa opted to bring off the creative Thauvin for finisher Batshuayi. Within seconds of the restart, Bielsa’s change looked to have worked as Gignac broke the deadlock. Quick play down the left saw the ball played forward to Batshuayi. His first time lay-off to Payet was then crossed to the back-post where Gignac volleyed the ball into the ground, bouncing back across goal and beating Samassa.

The travelling OM fans managed to get their first glimpse of new-signing Barrada as he came on to replace Payet. Barrada immediately settled into the pace of the game showing some good vision and making some key passes. Marseille did lose some of their dominance and control over the game from this point, however, with our main creative outlets, Thauvin and Payet, both being off the pitch.

Guingamp searched for an equaliser later on, but other than Lemaitre clipping the cross-bar as he shot from distance on the only scares were injury scares. Firstly, Mandanda collided with Yatabare, the same two who met on the final day of last season, a collision which left Mandanda unable to join the French national side for the Brazil World Cup. Shortly before full-time, Gignac went down after  twisting his ankle, he was stretchered off but thankfully began training mid-week after recovering.

Bielsa’s reaction (from om.net):

“We had several good opportunities and we managed to score. After going in front, we controlled the game pretty well. Defensively, the team played well and individually, the players did the job. We could have scored more goals because we had a number of good chances. The team defended very well and also constructed good attacks, but, on the other hand, we didn’t finish well.”

Other Ligue 1 Results:

Evian 0-0 psg

Bastia 1-0 Toulouse

Lille 2-0 Lorient

Montpellier 2-0 Metz

Nice 1-3 Bordeuax

Reims 0-2 Caen

Lyon 0-1 Lens

Saint-Etienne 0-0 Rennes

Nantes 0-1 Monaco

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

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 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

Marseille – Monaco – 01/09/13 – Match Preview

01/09/13 – 20:00 (UK – Live on BTsport 1)
Ligue 1 – Game 4
Marseille – Monaco
Stade Velodrome, Marseille

As the only side in Ligue 1 with a 100% record, Marseille face their toughest test to date as they face the team that many expect to overtake OM into 2nd spot this season, AS Monaco. OM have had mixed performances so far, with exciting and entertaining football in patches against Guingamp and Evian, replaced by the hard work but dull and efficient performance against Valenciennes. The same can be said about our Mediterranean neighbours. They were clinical and efficient in the season opener against Bordeaux with 2 late goals, entertaining and excellent against Montpellier followed by dull and drab against Toulouse. Sunday’s game will be a clear indicator of the title credentials of either team.

Marseille

Gianelli Imbula who missed out on the game against Valenciennes, but has taken part in some training, is part of the squad and may start. The rest of the squad is expected to be the same, with Payet and Gignac’s confidence boosted with their inclusion in the French national squad for the upcoming internationals along with Mandanda and Valbuena. The late omission of Morel, means it is likely that Mendy will start again, having missed the last 2 games.

Diawara and Morel will be likely to keep their places in defence along with Nkoulou and Fanni. With keeping the same defensive unit for the 3rd game in a row, hopefully their increased understanding and communication with Mandanda will help keep the Monaco attackers at bay.

It is fair to say that Monaco have not yet really been tested since their return to Ligue 1. In their wins over Bordeaux and Montpellier, and goalless draw with Toulouse the apposition have only managed 9 shots on target (Bordeaux (6), Montpellier (3) Toulouse (0)). OM should offer a more clinical attack than those 3 teams, given that OM have averaged 6 shots on target per game so far giving a goal conversion rate of 33%. In other words, give Gignac and Payet chances to shoot and Marseille should score.

Full Marseille squad: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Nkoulou, Abdullah, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, J. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Payet, Khalifa.

Monaco

Claudio Renieri’s team have impressed most so far this season, particularly with how well their many signings have gelled. The quality of Monaco’s signings is not in question, but their ability to grind out a result when facing some of the ligue’s better teams has not yet been seen. Toulouse put up quite a fight and managed to stifle the Monaco creative play and attack, and under this pressure they failed to win. This type of siege mentality is often what awaits teams like psg and Marseille, and if they want to seriously challenge for the title then Monaco will need to find a way past teams.

Marseille will need to be wary of the Monaco set-pieces, with communication between Mandanda and his defence key. This communication has improved game by game, but is still well short of the discipline that saw them keep 7 clean sheets in a row last season.

The OM defence will need to decide how to mark. In previous games, it seems as though Reviere has enjoyed success through the space created by Falcao as the opposition defence have been more worried and preoccupied with the Columbian. OM should perhaps look at man-marking both Reviere and Falcao, and leave any further covering to Imbula/Cheyrou or Romao.

Full Monaco squad: Callard, Romero, Subasic, Abidal, Carvalho, Fabinho, Isimat-Mirin, Kurzawa, Raggi, Tisserand, Ferreria-Carrasco, Moutinho, Obbadi, Ocampos, Pi, Rodriguez, Toulalan, Falcao, Germain, Reviere. 

Summary
Marseille certainly have the history books with them in this fixture having won 20 to Moncao’s 9 at the Stade Velodrome, and OM have only lost 1 of the last 10 meetings between the 2 sides.  Joking aside the atmosphere may be an issue for Monaco. Many teams find the atmosphere at the Velodrome intimidating, and this crowd will certainly be the largest that the Monaco players have faced in Ligue 1 to date. As a result of the quality of players and the atmosphere, I feel that Marseille just have the edge in this fixture, but they will absolutely have to be at their best to overcome a very good Monaco side.  

Stats
Monaco have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 25 trips to the Velodrome.
Marseille are unbeaten in their last 9 home games.
Monaco are unbeaten in their last 12 away games.
50% of Monaco’s goals have come after the 80th minute.

 

Other Ligue 1 games
Sat 31st  
Evian – Lyon
psg – Guingamp
Sochaux – Ajaccio
Rennes – Lille
Reims – Nantes
Lorient – Valenciennes
Bastia – Toulouse
Sun 1st
Saint-Etienne – Bordeaux
Nice – Montpellier

 

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)

Marseille 2-0 Evian match report – Unconvincing win at the Velodrome

18/08/13 – Ligue 1 Game 2
Marseille 2-0 Evian
Stade Velodrome, Att. 42,524

OM ETG 1

They say the sign of a good team is one which still manages to win when it doesn’t play well. OM  pretty much did exactly that here and picked up a flattering 2-0 success against an Evian side that probably deserved at least a draw out of the encounter. The hosts scored two excellent goals through Gignac and Payet, but over the course of the 90 mins they didn’t really create too many chances. It was Pascal Dupraz’s outfit who looked the more threatening but they lacked a finishing touch in front of goal. Ultimately, the difference between the two teams was a couple of extra classy moments which Evian didn’t have.

The game started in the heat of the afternoon and clearly this had an affect on the players throughout the whole contest. The first major occasion of the game fell Evian’s way and it originated from an excellent Ehret run and cross on the left hand side. The defence was caught out and it ultimately needed Steve Mandanda to make a good save to prevent a goal. Evian should’ve been ahead and regretted that miss just a few minutes later when Gicnac scored. It was really a goal out of nothing as Rod Fanni propelled a long ball forward. OM’s leading marksman from last season still had loads of work to do, but he turned Mensah superbly before unleashing an unstoppable left foot shot into the back of the net. It was a truly excellent goal and just what OM needed after a slow start.

OM ETG 2

The hosts couldn’t build on this lead though and in all truth didn’t create another veritable occasion in the first half. It was Evian who were more lively and could’ve easily found themselves level a couple of times. Mandanda had to be quick off his line to deny Benezet, whilst Kevin Berigaud fired over the bar when well placed. OM led 1-0 at HT but needed to improve in the 2nd half or else their advantage wouldn’t last.

Both sides had early shouts for a penalty at the start of the 2nd period,

but neither were convincing enough and the referee waved away all protests. Payet had a shot from a decent position but couldn’t find the target and then close to the hour mark Souley Diawara should’ve done better when unmarked at the back post. The big defender could only head tamely though and then just a couple of moments later at the other end, Evian had a huge chance to equalise. Bertoglio was in acres of space on the left, but couldn’t quite find Berigaud in the middle. Benezet then missed the the resulting chance and he misfired his shot.

This was a huge let off for OM and they responded. Andre Ayew was unlucky not to win a penalty before Dimitri Payer scored his 3rd goal in 2 games thanks to a great individual effort. He controlled a Valbuena through ball before twisting and turning the defence and then drilling a low shot into the net. OM were 2-0 up thanks to a couple of great goals but this advantage masked some deficiencies. Evian had yet more chances to register a goal before the close. Sougou fired wide, whilst both Nsikulu and Mensah had decent efforts saved by Mandanda. If they’d shown some composure in the final third, the result of this match could’ve been very different.

OM ETG 3

Things I liked

  • The goals. Both were really excellent and they show the fact that even when OM are having an off day, they now have more than one match winner who can save them thanks to an individual attempt.

  • Payet -Gignac – Valbuena triangle. Payet has really settled into the side well and looks so much at home in an OM shirt. His class and skill is a massive upgrade on what we had last season on the right wing. These three players already seem to have a great understanding and connection with each other, which is great to see.

  • Captain leading by example. The backline looked shaky in this match, but the last man of resistance Steve Mandanda was imperious. His form was great in this match and dominated in so many ways. Constantly seemed alert and made some very good saves. Massive improvement on the Guingamp performance and proved that was just a small blip

  • Le Stade Velodrome. Ok, so one side of it is under construction still and won’t be finished until next summer, but this stadium is really starting to take shape now. I really like the architectural design and its going to look superb when fully complete.

Things I didn’t like

  • The defence & its tactics. Its clear the backline has been asked to push up a lot more this season, which at times is working. But on other occasions OM are finding themselves really exposed. They’ve gotten away with it facing Guingamp and Evian because neither of them have taken their chances, but a good quality attack won’t be as generous against us.

  • Jeremy Morel. I just don’t see how he can keep being the starter if he maintains poor performances like this one. He’s constantly out of position and tries to bomb forwards too much. Fine as a backup left back, but Mendy is going to be a stud first choice for OM compared to him.

  • Lack of chances created. OK, so I praised the attacking trio earlier, but there was also a lack of chances created here. Evian are hardly world beaters yet we struggled to gain clear cut opportunities. If this was someone like PSG they’d have had 20+ shots or something and probably won 3 or 4 nil. I want to see us really dominate these type of games completely against weaker teams.

Highlights here

[vimeo 72730165 h=650 w=500]

Player ratings (out of 10)  – Mandanda 7,  Fanni 4, N’Koulou 5, Diawara 5, Morel 3, Romao 5, Imbula 4 (Cheyrou 5), Payet 6 (Amalfitano 4), Valbuena 6 (Kadir, not rated), A Ayew 5, Gignac 6.

Man of the match – Mandanda.

His influence here is underestimated. Payet and Gignac will grab the headlines but his authority at the back was really important. Souley Diawara made it into lequipe’s team of the week, but I don’t know how. Ok, he played alright but nothing special in my opinion.

Evian: Laquait, Wass, Sabaly, Mongongou, Mensah, Ehret (72′ Cambon), Bertoglio (63′ Sougou), Barbosa (63′ N’Sikulu) , Sorlin, Berigaud, Benezet

Elie Baup: ‘It was a difficult game in difficult conditions. We did not have enough juice to get forward more. Imbula was hit on the ankle early in the game. He will see the doctor, but there is a slight sprain.’ (From OM.net)

Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 16th
Sochaux 1-3 Lyon
Sat 17th
Toulouse 1-1 Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne 1-0 Guingamp
Reims 2-1 Lille
Nice 2-1 Rennes
Bastia 2-0 Valenciennes
Sun 18th
Monaco 4-1 Montpellier
Lorient 2-1 Nantes
psg 1-1 Ajaccio

Guingamp 1-3 Marseille Match Report – Opening day win despite defensive frailties

11/08/13
EA Guingamp 1-3 Marseille
Stade Municipal du Roudourou, Att. 18,155

Marseille opened up the season with a 3-1 away win at Le Stade Roudourou. OM were extremely quick out of the blocks and sensationally had a 3 goal cushion as early as the 16th minute. It looked like it’d be a romp in the park, but a poor defensive display marred what was a great night for the attack. In the 2nd half,Guingamp missed a penalty, reduced the arrears, and should’ve arguably scored more goals. But Elie Baup’s men managed to hold on for the win and collect a vital opening day 3 point haul.

20130812-134503.jpg

Smoking hot start for OM

OM lined up in their familiar 4-2-3-1. Debuts were given to Benjamin Mendy, Gilbert Imbula and Dimitri Payet, whilst Souley Diawara partnered Nkoulou in central defence. Lucas Mendes came back from the summer break a few pounds too heavy and isn’t deemed in good enough condition yet. OM got off to the perfect start when Andre Ayew’s shot was only parried by Samassa straight into the path of Andre Pierre Gignac who had a virtual tap-in which he couldn’t miss. Things got even better for the visitors just a couple of minutes later when the Guingamp defence failed to deal with a routine low cross into the area. They couldn’t clear and Dimitri Payet converted well sliding the ball into the bottom left corner.

OM were smoking hot in attack in the early stages of this game and looked like they could score at will. However, an early alarm bell rang when at the other end Mustapha Yatabare missed a virtual sitter from not far out. Marking was non existent and it was a wake-up call. Guingamp were having constant defensive issues though and Marseille made it 3-0 in the 16th minute through Payet again. Samassa saved well from a Valbuena shot, but the defence couldn’t clear and the ex Lille man converted well. It really had been a sensational start to the season by OM and it looked like game over.

But Guingamp always looked as threat with their 4-4-2 formation in the 1st half and created chances. The whole of the OM backline looked vulnerable with the likes of Nkoulou, Diawara and Mandanda all making sloppy errors which were fortunate to go unpunished. OM of course still looked dangerous themselves though and maybe could’ve scored 4 or 5 goals by halftime. They had to be content with just a 3-0 lead, but realistically the match looked done and dusted.
20130812-134627.jpg

Guingamp miss penalty, then reduce arrears

Guingamp made a substitution at HT and bolstered their midfield by bringing on Diallo. They changed formation to a 4-3-3 and immediately started the period on the front foot. Steve Mandanda had to be alert to make a couple of early saves. Guingamp looked more solid and compact with a 4-3-3, certainly less vulnerable defensively anyway. The hosts were given a lifeline in the 52nd minute when referee Said Ennjimi awarded them a penalty. Souley Diawara lunged in on Steven Langil and it was probably a correct decision to award the spot kick, albeit slightly debatable. The ineffective Yatabare missed from 12 years though as Mandanda made a great save to preserve OM’s 3 goal advantage.

What followed then was a period of general stability where not much happened. It looked to be cruise control mode for OM but they allowed Guingamp back into the match thanks to a defensive howler. Nicolas Nkoulou gave the ball away terribly in his own area and the end result was Yatabare converting past Mandanda at his near post. You couldn’t deny that Guingamp deserved a goal, but was it too little too late in the 74th minute? Well, for sure there were some nervy moments for the visitors, especially 3 minutes from time when Diallo missed a free header not too far out. But eventually OM held on comfortably enough and ended up prevailing by a 3-1 scoreline.

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Of course, all you can ever ask for on the opening day of the season is 3 points. OM have managed to achieve this with plenty of positives, most of them coming from the attack force. New signing DImitri Payet was sensational on debut, whilst Valbuena was his usual threatening self. Gignac and Andre Ayew also both had good games too, plus new signings Mendy and Imbula both looked decent. However, there were negatives too. Nkoulou had an absolute stinker and Diawara didn’t look much better. Mandanda, despite doing some good things also looked poor at times. In general, the defence seemed to lack composure and there was also a lack of communication. So, there are plenty of things to work on, but at the end of the day OM managed to win 3-1 and thats the most important thing.

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Player ratings and notes :-

Mandanda 5/10 – Made some good saves, including a good penalty stop but made errors too and didn’t link up with the backline very well. Flapped at a few crosses and set pieces.

Fanni 5/10 – Performed his duties to a satisfactory level and supported the attack on occasion too.

Diawara 3/10 – Conceded a needless penalty and made other sloppy errors. Has lack of pace may well have caught up with him now.

Nkoulou 2/10 – And it might even be generous to give him a 2 rating, he was so poor. Constantly gave the ball away, lacked concentration and was 100% at fault for Guingamp’s goal. Very poor.

Mendy 6/10 – Looked the best of the backline and impressed on debut, had a high energy level.

Romao 5/10 – Solid, without being spetacular

Imbula 6/10 – Impressive debut against his former club, seemed to dominate the midfield and looked really at ease

Andre Ayew 6/10 – Had a nice game and contributed solidly on the left hand side

Valbuena 7/10 – As always, a real threat and was dangerous.

Payet 8/10 – MOM here, scored 2 goals on debut and was a constant thorn in Guingamp’s side.

Gignac 6/10 – Scored the opener and generally played well,. His passing and crossing was a little poor at times.

Subs: Samba, Abdallah, Mendes, Cheyrou, Kadir, Amalfitano (81′ Payet), J. Ayew (69′ Gignac)

Guingamp: Samassa, Pereira, Sorbon, Lemaitre, Beauvue, Langil, Sankhare (69′ Atik), Mathis, Kebrat, Yatabare 1, Giresse (46′ Diallo)

Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 9th
Montpellier 1-1 psg
Sat 10th
Nantes 2-0 Bastia
Rennes 2-1 Reims
Valenciennes 3-0 Toulouse
Lyon 4-0 Nice
Bordeaux 0-2 Monaco
Evian 1-1 Sochaux
Lille 1-0 Lorient
Sun 11th
Ajaccio 0-1 Saint-Etienne