Tag Archives: OM

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 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

Marseille v Bastia – 13/09/15 – Match Preview

OM SCB

Excitement, elation, disappointment and despair, just an average 2 weeks as a Marseille fan it feels. After the highs of the emphatic 6-0 win over Troyes there was the lacklustre defeat at the hands of Guingamp, the end of the transfer window promising much, only to be left deflated with the lack of signings that we really needed.

After an international break where those who weren’t on international duty travelled to Slovakia to face Spartak Trnava, Michel will hopefully have managed to spend more time with his squad getting to know them and working on some of the failings that halted our progress against Guingamp. Without Batshuayi around for the last week, he will also have got an idea of awaits between now and January should the Belgian international get injured.

Having struggled to get past a deep lying Guingamp team last game, getting caught on the break twice and creating little to nothing in the final third in our previous game, there has to be a clear sight for improvement from Michel and the OM team. If Diarra is playing deep and protecting the defence (when under pressure) as he has in previous outings, Allesandrini and Cabella ought to stay out wide around the half-way line with a view to attacking down the wings, a contrast to Bastia’s preference to attacking down the middle before spreading out wide further up the field, finding width on the Velodrome’s pitch which did not appear to be there in Guingamp. Mendy will immeadiately support Cabella and these two should be the 2 to aim for if crossing for Batshuayi, whereas Alessandrini could be used more for cutting inside, in which case Cabella could drop more central linking with Michy, and Barrada providing cover support from a deeper position.

For now, Michel has kept the full squad under wraps, with no definitive answer as to which of the new players will start or even be in the squad. The most likely inclusions would be Mauricio Isla and Lucas Silva.

Likely starting line-up:

Mandanda

Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Isla/Silva, Diarra, Barrada

Alessandrini, Batshuayi, Cabella

Bastia have managed a fairly solid start to Ligue 1 this season, currently sitting in 6th after home wins against Rennes and Guingamp, whilst drawing with Lorient and losing to Saint-Etienne whilst on the road. Although the Corsicans won’t have any fans with them at the Velodrome, they do have ex-Olympians Brandao and Florian Raspentino in their squad, though they will be without Djiku and Kamano through suspension.

Bastia’s expected line-up:

Hansen

Cioni, Squillaci, Modesto, Palmieri

Cahuzac, Fofana

Ayite, Diallo, Danic

Brandao

As much as we said the Guingamp game was a must win, with tough games against Lyon and psg combined with the start of our Europa League campaign, it really is imperative that OM kick start the season now and begin to assert some sort of consistency.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

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

Marseille 1v2 Livorno (Friendly)

Marseille 1-2 Livorno

(Sarr pen.; Fedato, Maicon)

Pele – Dubois, Tuiloma, Andonian, Sane – Romao – Sarr, Baradda – Ocampos, Batshuayi, Nkoudou

Subs: Aloe, Abergel, Dja Djedje, Boutobba

Subs N/U: Escales

With only 2 players starting from the previous friendly line-ups, Bielsa opted for an inexperienced Marseille line-up against the Italian Livorno side. The defense in particular looking extremely inexperienced, however, it is some valuable game time for these players ahead of a season where they will undoubtedly be called upon at some point with a heavy fixture schedule with the additional pressures of Europa League football.

The first goal came once Livorno had broken down the right. The cross from the by-line was nodded to the far post by Fedato, and Pele could only watch helplessly as the ball bounced in off the post.

With the usual raft of substitutions at half time, OM brought on some more experience with Dja Djedje and Boutobba alongside Aloe and Abergel adding to their pre-season time (the latter just before making a move to AC Ajaccio).

After a clumsy pull in the box, Sarr stepped up to take the resulting OM penalty and coolly netted the equaliser.

Unfortunately less than 10 minutes later, Livorno had again taken the lead. Maicon with an excellent run from deep, playing a 1-2 before netting around Pele.  It did seem as though he was given too much space through the centre as he ran, and you would expect Romao to be protecting the centre of defence in a more disciplined manner, however this was a friendly with a vastly changed squad.

It will be interesting to see how OM line up and perform against last seasons Champions League finalists, Juventus, at the Velodrome at the weekend.

om-text-title

Pre season stats:

Goals:
Batshuayi 3
Thauvin 2
Alessandrini 2
Sarr 2
Ocampos 1
Boutobba 1
Lemina 1

Playing time:
Sarr – 270
Dja Djedje – 260
Mandanda – 243
Sparagna – 230
Barrada – 225
Batshuayi – 212
Rekik – 209
Ocampos – 207
Lemina – 195
Nkoulou – 180
Alessandrini – 180
Sane – 178
Nkoudou – 178
Mendy – 170
Aloe – 168
Tuiloma – 163
Thauvin – 149
Romao – 135
Pele – 117
Boutobba – 100
Andonian – 79
Dubois – 83
Abergel – 29

Europa League & Internationals

Europa League

Europa League Consequences

Having finished 4th in the ligue, OM will qualify for the Europa League having missed out on Champions League football by 2 points. But all is not confirmed yet, OM need psg to beat Auxerre in the Coupe de France on Saturday in order to qualify directly for the group stages. If Auxerre were to beat psg, thus denying them a domestic treble, OM would have to play 2 preliminary rounds in July and August in order to qualify for the group stage.

Important dates:

Preliminary Round 1, Game 1: 30th July

Preliminary Round 1, Game 2: 6th August

Ligue 1, Game 1: 7th August* (OM play 9th August)

Preliminary Round 2, Game 1: 20th August

Ligue 1, Game 3: 21st August* (OM play 23rd August)

Preliminary Round 2, Game 2: 27th August

Ligue 1, Game 4: 28th August* (OM play 30th August)

Europa League Group Game 1: 17th September

Ligue 1, Game 6: 18th September*( OM play 20th September)

Europa League Group Game 2: 1st October

Ligue 1, Game 9: 2nd October* (OM play 4th October)

Europa League Group Game 3: 22nd October

Ligue 1, Game 11: 23rd October* (OM play 25th October)

Europa League Group Game 4: 5th November

Ligue 1, Game 13: 6th November* (OM play 8th November)

Europa League Group Game 5: 26th November

Ligue 1, Game 15: 27th November* (OM play 29th November)

Europa League Group Game 6: 10th December

Ligue 1, Game 18: 11th December* (OM play 13th December)

**(Ligue 1 game dates in brackets are the Sunday’s that OM would play if still in Europa League)

Summer Hasn’t Started For OM Internationals

A number of OM’s stars and fringe players are participating in post-season tournaments.

Wed 27th May

Stephane Sparagna – France 3-1 USA – Toulon Tournament

Fri 29th May

Stephane Sparagna – Qatar v France – Toulon Tournament

Sat 30th May

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v Ukraine – U20 World Cup

Mon 1st June

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v Nigeria – U20 World Cup

Tue 2nd June

Staphane Sparagna – France v Costa Rica – Toulon Tournament

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v USA – U20 World Cup

Thur 4th June

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v Hungary – U20 World Cup

Stephane Sparagna – France v Netherlands – Toulon Tournamet

Fri 5th June

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v Burma – U20 World Cup

Sat 6th June

Nicolas Nkoulou – Cameroon v Burkina Faso – Friendly

Sunday 7th June

Steve Mandanda & Dimitri Payet – France v Belgium – Friendly

Alayxis Romao – Ghana v Togo  – Friendly

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v North Korea – U20 World Cup

Tue 9th June

Nicola Nkoulou – Cameroon v DR Congo – Friendly

Thur 11th June

Bejamin Mendy & Baptiste Aloe – France U21 v South Korea U21 – Friendly

Sat 13th June

Steve Mandanda & Dimitri Payet – Albania v France – Friendly

Alexander Ndoumbou – Gabon v Ivory Coast – CAN 2017 Qualifier

Gael Andonian – Armenia v Portugal – Euro 2016 Qualifying Round Group 1

Sun 14th June

Nicolas Nkoulou – Cameroon v Mauritania – CAN 2017 Qualifier

Tue 16th June

Benjamin Mendy & Baptiste Aloe – France U21 v Paraguay U21 – Friendly