The game started amid a ferocious atmosphere with both teams matching each other for intensity early on. Thauvin took to his role as pantomime villain well and after a slow start began to make some good runs down the right, though the persistence of 3 Lille markers on him every time he got the ball, meant he wasn’t always as productive as in previous games. The same could be said for Valbuena and Payet who also struggled to get touches on the ball before being crowded out by the hard working Lille players.
Lille managed a few chances on goal with shots from distance from both Kalou and Balmont, the former should have managed more chances if it wasn’t for his persistent straying offside. Lille also had a number of corners in the first half that they should have managed better from.
Marseilles best chance of the first half came as Thauvin collected the ball in his own half. As he broke forwards he was eventually tackled near the edge of the Lille box. As the ball came loose to Cheyrou he played in Gignac. APG only just had time to turn and shoot before Enyeama stormed out of his goal to make the save.
In the second half Marseille took greater charge of the game. Pushing forwards on the right, left and particularly through the centre. The half chances that were created were often straight at Enyeama but the chance of the game for OM came as both Gignac and Thauvin were denied in close succession by Enyeama, who pulled off two wonderful saves to keep his clean sheet record intact.
The only notable events for OM after this was the departure of Valbuena and Payet through injury, Lille’s rough approach to these players eventually taking it toll. Valbuena, during the course of the game, had already been cracked by rugby player wannabe Balmont, before Kjaer basically threw him to the ground. The difference in stature and weight, meant that Valby was easily thrown over and landed awkwardly on his shoulder, neck and head, suffering a dislocated shoulder. Kjaer again escaped a booking despite the lack of any reason to be so aggressive. The referee also showed that he must have left his bollocks in the changing room along with his cards as he spoke to Girard for the 3rd time, without sending him from the touch line.
Thauvin was replaced at the end, and continued his role as pantomime villain as he applauded the Lille fans. Unfortunately, minutes later, in injury time the Lille fans were cheering again, as Roux netted a last gasp winner. A cross from behind Morel (yup), saw Roux sneak in behind Abdallah and net easily past Mandanda. Questions really have to be asked of the defence as to why Diwara and Nkoulou were so far out of position.
As the full time whistle blew though, far more pressing questions also need answering and addressing. Who will fill the gap left by Ayew, Payet and now Valbuena? Why is Cheyrou starting ahead of Imbula? Why is Morel in the squad? How long before Mendes can rightfully take his place in defence ahead of a rapidly declining and aging Diawara?
Marseille have the opportunity to get over this disappointment fairly quickly as they host Nantes on Friday night. The injuries won’t help against a team that are playing well and have surprised most this season.