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.
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.
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.
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
Montpellier 1-1 psg
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
Ajaccio 0-1 Saint-Etienne