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Marseille: Looking busy, yet doing nothing.

320px-UEFA_Champions_League_logo_2_svgI had a boss that said something to me that stuck in my head. One time, I was working, and working quite hard. He said I was going a great job, unlike someone else. Yet, this ‘someone else’ always looked like they were doing their work. So I said to him “hey, that person works hard as well.” He responded by saying, “there are some people who look busy doing nothing.”

In the soccer world, that would have to be applied to Marseille.  While undefeated in Ligue 1 play, L’OM showed in last night’s match against AC Milan why many people, like myself, question this team as being the Ligue 1 preseason favorites.

There were a number of times during the game that I, along with many others i’m sure, said “Marseille is about to score.” Yet, all the chances but one didn’t materialize into anything. This is the story of L’OM.

This team has some serious questions that need to be answered if they plan on making a serious charge for the top spot in Ligue 1. Here are just a few observations from yesterday’s game.

Offensive leader of Marseille is…..?

One thing that I noticed during yesterday’s game was that Marseille’s attack came from all places. Usually I think that is a good thing…keep your opponent on their toes and keep them guessing all the time. But this team has yet to find that ‘sweet spot’ that every successful team needs in order to be successful.

There is always that one play that, if you follow a team, that you can see developing and you have that feeling that ‘hey, we are getting ready to score.” That isn’t the case with Marseille.

Both Benoit Cheyrou and Mamadou Niang had good games. Cheyrou produced a number of chances on the left side and set peices while Niang looked good on both sides of the pitch. Yet there didn’t seem to be anyone else on the field that seemed to click with these players. These two  had to make most of the offensive plays themselves. Brandao also had an alright game, but just couldn’t control the ball as well as the other two.


Ok, to be fair, this was only Lucho Gonzalez’s second game for Marseille and to judge a player on two games would be unfair. But so far, I haven’t been impressed with his, well, predictable play.

I have to give him some respect, he isn’t a ball hog. He does a good job distributing the ball. But during last night’s match, it seemed that every time he passed the ball, it was to Brazilian striker Brandao. There was no surprise in his attack. He would come up the middle with the ball, and the second he came up to the penalty area, he passed the ball to Brandao on the left. AC Milan read this play well and were pretty much able to shut down both Lucho and Brandao.

Take your time…finish the play

Marseille are a fast-paced team, there is no doubt about that. Still, it seems like their fast pace sometimes leads to plays not being set up. They can come up the pitch with speed, yet when they get near the opponent’s goal, everything seems to break down. They don’t seem to settle down play and just develop their play. But AC Milan seemed to know this, and were ready for the breakdown of play close within their end. Even though Marseille spent a lot of time around the AC Milan goal, the Italian side didn’t seem to worried about Marseille scoring.

Don’t worry about goals, worry about winning the game!

The biggest talk around the French football community regarding Marseille is that they haven’t been able to score goals. And I am sure that the Marseille players, as well as Didier Deschamps and the other staff, are tired of hearing about it.

In yesterday’s game, it seemed that Marseille were determined to score goals. They were so determined that their back line was pushed up so much, that AC Milan had a number of scoring chances themselves. And it didn’t seem like Marseille were playing an offsides trap, but just being impatient in trying to move the ball forward.

Defensive players should be worried about playing a defensive game, not producing an offensive play on the other end. That is what your midfielders are for. Yet Marseille were caught off-guard by a number of breaks by AC Milan.

This type of play might help you in Ligue 1, but it won’t help in the Champions League. And, sooner or later, Ligue 1 teams will be able to figure this out as well.

Who is responsible?

I don’t want to blame Deschamps, but their play has been quite predictable so far this year. Is this his managing style or is it the individual players? The players don’t seem to have a good line of communication on the pitch, and this is something the manager needs to work on.

My boss  told me another quote that I remember. He said that if anything goes wrong at work, he was the only that had to be held responsible. And, as of right now, I would have to hold Deschamps responsible for their loss last night again AC Milan.


2 Responses

  1. […] Read more…. Categories: Uncategorized Tags: Olympique Marseille Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

  2. I have to agree with the overall premise. If France has a big three, there is one club that’s distinctly third right now. Milan is not a strong team, but you do have to be more than predictable to beat them. If you’re saying that they lacked imagination, that’s on Deschamps. Last night’s loss was huge.

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