Scouting Report: Olympique de Marseille
I am far from the best person to write a scouting report on Olympique de Marseille, but no one else is volunteering. (Add comments if you have any thoughts.)
Match: Champions League Group Phase Away to the Arsenal
Standings after this 4th match
1. Arsenal FC – 8
2. Olympique de Marseille – 7
3. Borussia Dortmund – 4
4. Olympiacos FC – 3
France Players Involved
Olympique de Marseille: Alou Diarra, Steve Mandanda, Loic Remy, Mathieu Valbuena, Andre-Pierre Gingac, Rod Fanni
No France players were involved for Arsenal. Koscielny(1) was on the bench. Sagna(2) and Diaby(3) are out injured. Squillaci(4) didn’t make the bench – he has lost his place in the squad to German Per Mertesacker. Arsenal also have Francis Coquelin(5): a young, but up-and-coming, France U20 holding midfielder. That’s less France players than previously at Arsenal now that Clichy and Nasri have gone to Manchester City.
Olympique de Marseille also started Jeremy Morel, a young French full back who I think has not been called up for Les Bleus yet, like a number of other French players in the team. If you have nuggets of info on some of these French Marseille players, please share in the comments.
As an Arsenal supporter, I was hoping that the France players on Marseille would do well, but I was also quite worried about how much damage they might do. From that perspective:
From the point of view of an Arsenal supporter, I was not worried about Alou being the one to grab the winning goal, so overall, I wasn’t really worried by him. The match ended goalless, though, so maybe I should have been more concerned about what his presence was doing to clog the works.
He looked really skillful. Silky smooth touch on the ball. He looked dangerous, but didn’t have a moment of magic.
The recurring thought I had about Remy was that Arsenal’s Theo Walcott (England) looked more dangerous. (Was I blinded by my own bias?)
Mandanda was playing so well that I was feeling some buyers remorse about my scathing comments after his last howler for France. He almost looked like the best kid on the playground who just chose to play in goal for the day. He clamped onto every Arsenal cross like he was 7 feet tall. It’s obvious why he gets selected. It looked quite easy for him to keep Arsenal out in this one.
He hasn’t been called up for a while – he’s behind Debuchy at right back in the pecking order, I guess. But Fanni is a decent player. I think he’s good enough for France.
He didn’t get much time. Somewhat like Mandanda, Gignac looks like a serious athlete. I thought he looked in shape, and I would like to see him back involved with France. I would especially like to see him starting for Marseille in a match like this, so he has to get his form sorted, I guess. I honestly do not know what the story is. The last I heard, I think, was a rumor that he had to go to a fat farm.
Based on that match, Valbuena and Mandanda are the main France players to watch for Marseille, with honorable mention to Alou, Loic and some of the hopefuls. Overall, Olympique de Marseille is a fairly tasty side for France supporters.
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