OM – The Goalkeepers

In looking to where l’OM are at, and where they are going, I think it is important to review where the club are at with regard to keepers, defence, midfield and up front. I’m starting today (obviously) with the goalkeepers.

I think Steve Mandanda gets a bit of a unfair criticism, although I don’t dispute Lloris should be France’s number one. Much maligned this year in goal (especially by contributors on this site), I think he has all the attributes required to be world class. Firstly youth, for all his experience having played 175 league matches, 34 times in Europe and 13 times for France, he is only 25.

This means that he still has a decade of good football in him. Secondly, I think his strongest attribute is his agility, which requires reflexes, speed and the ability to change direction very quickly. His distribution is solid, and his shot stopping can be exceptional. He was sold short by his defence a few times in the first half of the season, but I think he performed admirably, and that OM are fortunate to have a keeper of Mandanda’s class. I think the best way to look at his value to the side is questioning who could replace him if he left? I’m not sure there is anyone better out there with so much potential.

However, his understudy has become one of my favourite players. Elinton Andrade, not exactly a household name, but he was signed to OM by Didier Deschamps last (northern) summer as a number 2 goalkeeper, and he has done that job superbly. He sits on the bench, and to me oozes positiveness and charisma. That’s the reason I believe the United States are taking Marcus Hahnemann to the world cup despite him being too old to play in another, is for squad harmony. Andrade seems to really love playing for l’OM, he celebrates goals like he’s scored them himself (impressive from the bench), and his reaction to Mandanda’s red card and penalty in the penultimate game of the season was brilliant. Coming on to face a penalty, he was beaming from ear to ear, giving team mates high 10s, proceeded to concede the penalty, 2 more goals in a 3-2 loss and semed to love every minute of it. This attitude was repeated in the 2-0. I don’t think (from the 2 times I’ve seen him admittedly) he’s an outstanding keeper, he doesn’t seem to command his area well, his positioning isn’t perfect and his distribution was at times poor. However, as a reserve goalkeeper he’s serviceable, and to the squad he seems invaluable.

What is required for a successful 010/011 season? Not much change at all, although I’d like to see the emergence of Samir Koukabi, he’s been on the books for a while, and the ability to promote from within is something Marseille should always be focusing on.


2 Responses

  1. I just hope we see more of the good Mandanda performances and less of this:

    Steve makes it easy for Ronaldo: OM 0-1 Real Madrid:

  2. Thanks Justin. While its easy to build someone up as a superstar or cut them down via youtube – I’d question where the defence were and why a centre forward (albeit a rather good one) is allowed that much space to get one on one with the keeper. I also think he made worse errors than this last season.

    Just look at how split the centre backs were.

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