Tag Archives: Thauvin

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.

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

Antalyaspor 2-5 Marseille

Antalysaspor 2v5 Marseille
(Simsek, Chico; Lemina, Alessandrini 2, Batshuayi, Sarr)
Mandanda – Sparagna, Nkoulou, Rekik – Dja Djedje, Lemina, Mendy – Barrada – Thauvin, Batshuayi, Alessandrini
Subs: Andonian, Aloe, Tuiloma, Dubois, Sane, Boutobba, Nkoudou, Pele, Sarr
Subs N/U: Escales, Romao, Ocampos

After the defeat at the hands of Fenerbahce, it was important to get the pre-season on course again to hit the Ligue 1 groiund running, and that’s exactly what OM did as they swept aside Turkish Super Lig side Antalyaspor.
Despite the lack of difficulty that the opposition provided it was good to see more positives from OM with Lemina, Alessandrini, Thauvin and Sparagna in particular continuing to impress ahead of the new season.
As would be expected in an OM game, Marseille kept control of the possession well, showing that Bielsa will continue with this sort of game plan next term, though it will be interesting to see if his pre-season option of a 3-3-1-3 formation (as like last pre-season) continues into Ligue 1, whereas last year this fell by the wayside relatively early on.
OM started well and found themselves 3-0 just after 30 minutes. Well worked and excellently taken goals from Lemina and Alessandrini were followed up by a good strike from Batshuayi who showed strength and determination to turn the defence and shoot.
After a wealth of changes from both sides, Antalyaspor started the second half brightly and were soon rewarded with a well struck goal from Simsek. Minutes later though Alessandrini extended the OM lead with an excellent solo effort, akin to the likes he seemed to score at Rennes.
Sarr’s goal was another well worked goal as some neat play down the left saw Mendy cut a cross back and Sarr powered home the finish.
Antalysapor reduced the arrears just before the end, but it can’t take away from an emphatic attacking performance for OM. Bielsa will be buoyed with the result and much of the performance, but thankfully the acquisition of Manquillo will hopefully help to solidify the defence, who are still allowing the opposition in behind all too often.

om-text-title
Pre season stats:

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

Playing time:
Mandanda – 243
Sparagna – 230
Dja Djedje – 215
Rekik – 209
Lemina – 195
Nkoulou – 180
Sarr – 180
Barrada – 180
Alessandrini – 180
Mendy – 170
Batshuayi – 167
Thauvin – 149
Aloe – 123
Ocampos – 117
Sane – 88
Nkoudou – 88
Tuiloma – 73
Boutobba – 55
Romao – 45
Andonian – 34
Pele – 27
Dubois – 22

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 III: Marseille 5-0 Willem II

Having seen off notable opposition in previous friendlies in the form of Bayer Leverkusen and Benfica, OM had faced what should be an easier opposition in the form of Dutch side Willem II. Despite spending last season in the Dutch 2nd division, they earned promotion back to the Eredivisie at the first time of asking, having finished 1st last season.

via OM.net

Sun 27th July – 18:00

Marseille 5-0 Willem II (Thauvin, Imbula, Batshuayi 2, Cheyrou)

Stade Olympique, Albertville

Samba

Dja Djedje  Romao  Morel  Mendy

Payet  Lemina  Imbula

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

Subs: Mandanda, Nkoulou, Sparagna, Amalfitano, Bangoura, Cheyrou, Porsan-Clement, A. Ayew, Batshuayi

 

Playing a more traditional 4-3-3 formation, Marcelo Bielsa welcomed Mandanda, Nkoulou and Andre Ayew back to the match day squad, although none were deemed fit enough to start from the beginning. They all played their part in an emphatic win though as OM hit 5 past their Dutch opposition, with Thauvin scoring and assisting and new signing Batshuayi netting his 2nd and 3rd goals in 3 OM games.

The game started evenly with both Samba and Ondaan being called into action early on. As the first half progressed though OM began to take control. After giving away a free-kick just outside their penalty area, Thauvin made Willem II pay, as he curled the free-kick into the near post leaving Ondaan clutching fresh air.

Taking over Payet’s recent role as master-creator, Thauvin then set up Marseille’s 2nd goal 4 minutes later. His run down the right and hold up before crossing allowed OM players to swarm the box, Thauvin’s accurate cross found Imbula who chested down before shooting past 3 Willem II players.

OM could have made it 3 before half-time with Imbula and Alessandrini both going close, before some excellent play between Mendy, Gignac and Alessandrini saw OM go agonisingly close again.

Half-time brought about the usual raft of changes with Batshuayi replacing Gignac, 2 of Marseille’s World Cup representatives, Nkoulou and Andre Ayew replacing Thauvin and Romao, and perhaps most significantly Steve Mandanda, returning from his neck injury in the final game of the season, replacing Brice Samba, who has performed tremendously well during the pre-season.

Unfortunately, as soon as the 2nd half kicked off, Willem II looked as though they were going to spoil the welcome back party! They improved their passing, movement and were getting into dangerous positions, putting in some shots that almost troubled Mandanda. Although this was worrying to watch for a little while, Willem II, didn’t really get any shots on target, but it may give Bielsa and his team some food for thought in preventing the opposition from creating chances.

After 10 minutes of domination, Willem II let the game slip beyond their grasp. As Payet picked up the ball he played in Batshuayi. Although it initially looked to be going out of play, the Belgian managed to beat the ‘keeper to the ball, take it round a defender the the keeper and shoot into the far post. This showed determination, skill and composure from the Belgian, who has looked an exciting prospect.

The game stagnated somewhat over the next 20 minutes with both teams seemingly accepting an OM win. But in the 80th minute Cheyrou added a 4th to the score-sheet. Andre Ayew picked up the ball on the OM left and whipped in a deep cross. Cheyrou volleyed into the ground and into the far post, back across goal for his first OM goal of the pre-season.

As OM suddenly picked up and looked for a 5th in the final 10 minutes Amalfitano broke into the box only to be felled and win OM a penalty. After some discussion between Ayew and Batshuayi it was the Belgian who stepped up to take the spot kick, convincingly sending the Willem II ‘keeper the wrong way to pick up his 3rd goal in 3 games (it seems as though his goal against Bayer Leverkusen was given as an own-goal).

Another convincing OM win, giving the Bielsa era a record of 3 wins from 3, 11 goals scored and 2 goals conceded. All players have managed to play the Bielsa systems, tactics and formations well, with substitutions slotting in seamlessly. It has also been excellent to see some of the youngsters getting pitch time and also playing well. In previous seasons, OM have had a strong starting 11, but looked weak beyond this. Bielsa has varied between a back 3 with only 1 recognised defender, to a back 5 with 4 recognised defenders, with neither of these systems demonstrating any major weaknesses. The beauty of Bielsa’s Marseille so far has been the work ethic and team spirit, but it’s excellent to see that the manager is already looking for potential ‘plan c’ and ‘plan d’ for games, which immediately puts him above his predecessors Baup and Anigo who rarely seemed to have any resemblance of a ‘plan b’.

 

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

270: Dja Djedje

244: Payet

227: Mendy

225: Samba, Romao, Lemina

206: Imbula

199: Alessandrini

186: Morel

185: Thauvin

135: Gignac, Batshuayi

129: Mendes

97: Amalfitano, Cheyrou

71: Sparagna

45: Sparagna, Mandanda, Nkoulou, A. Ayew

17: Porsan

7: Bangoura

 

Pre-season goals:

3: Batshuayi

2: Thauvin

1: Payet, Amalfitano, Gignac,  Imbula, Cheyrou

OG: Reinartz (Bayer04)

 

Pre-season assists:

4: Payet

1: Amalfitano, Batshuayi, Thauvin, A. Ayew

 

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

Pre season – Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Marseille

After much confusion over arranged friendlies, cancelled friendlies and newly arranged friendlies, along with doubt over the venue of OMs home games this season, Marseille eventually played their first game under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa on the 19th July in Austria against Bayer Leverkusen.

2 games later and Bielsa’s Marseille have a 100% record, showing some excellent discipline, attacking intent, structure and tactics that have been missing during the Baup/Anigo eras.

Payet Leverkusen

Sat 19th July – 19:00

Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Marseille (Yurchenko; Thauvin, Reinartz O.G., Amalfitano, Payet)

Stade SV Seekirchen, Austria

 

Samba

Dja Djedje  Romao  Lemina  Mendes  Mendy

Imbula

Thauvin  Payet  Alessandrini

Gignac

Subs: Fabri, Morel, Cheyrou, Amalfitano, Batshuayi

 

One of the many questions fans were excitedly asking ahead of Bielsa’s first game in charge of OM was ‘what crazy formation will El Loco’ start with?’ Knowing that Bielsa is something of a taskmaster, with huge expectations of his players, many have doubted how OM’s players would adapt to this level of discipline, having shown very little of it under previous managers.

Bielsa set out with an unusual line-up which varied between a defensive 5-1-3-1 and attacking 3-3-3-1. In the defensive 3, only Mendes was a recognised defender as Lemina and Romao joined him. Mendy and Dja Djedje supported as wing-backs, with Imbula sitting just in front of the defence. The attacking 4 of Alessandrini, Payet, Thauvin and Gignac was probably the most expected aspect of the squad.

The game started evenly with both teams creating chances, but failing to really test the opposition keeper. That all changed after 30 minutes when Payet played an excellent through-ball for Thauvin, beating the high Leverkusen defensive line, Thauvin composed himself and beat Leno when one-on-one. Leverkusen looked the most likely to score during the rest of the first half, but only tested Samba once.

During the interval Bielsa made 3 changes, bringing on Morel, Cheyrou and Batshuayi in pace Mendy, Alessandrini and Gignac. The changes worked well with all 3 players fitting into the system seamlessly. Just before the hour mark, OM doubled their lead. New boy, Batshuayu broke down the left and attempted to cross, only for Bayer defender Reinartz to deflect the ball into his own goal.

Amalfitano looked to have put the game beyond the Germans with an audacious lob on 78 minutes, only for Yurchenko to leave Samba with no chance with a good strike. Amalfitano continued to look impressive though and he added to his performance with an assist for Payet’s goal only a minute later.

The slightly more physical side to the game looked as though it may take over in the dying minutes, but thankfully most remembered that this was a pre-season friendly.

The win was an emphatic way for Marcelo Bielsa to begin his tenure at OM, with a number of Marseille players impressing with excellent performances, for both themselves and the team as a whole. Particular standouts were Imbula, Amalfitano, Payet and Thauvin.

 

 

Allez l’OM

@MarseilleUK

@aswanny84