Marseille fell to a 0-2 defeat away to Borussia Monchengladbach in what was a fairly low-key match containing few chances. In truth, not too much split the teams here. It was only a penalty and a long range shot out of nowhere which enabled the Germans to collect the 3 points. OM played fairly well, but much like their outing away to Troyes last Sunday, they failed to create many clear-cut chances.
It must be remembered that the more important game for Elie Baup’s men is the upcoming Ligue 1 fixture at home to Lyon on Sunday. With that in mind, Cheyrou, Andre Ayew and Morel were all benched and it was a surprise that some of the other big names such as Valbuena weren’t given a breather either. Despite sitting on a comfortable 4 points in the group and perhaps having their minds elsewhere, OM knew that they could do with picking up something in this fixture, so everyone on the field would have been motivated.
The likes of Lucas Mendes, Jordan Ayew and of course Joey Barton all started, so plenty of fresh legs were brought into the side. Monchengladbach started brighter but OM gradually took over. A couple of Loic Remy chances went to waste; clearly he has yet to hit the right rhythm since his comeback from injury and is a work in progress at the moment. Things looked to be heading towards a scoreless first half but a penalty given for a handball on Kabore ensured the Germans would be ahead come the interval.
I won’t get into debates about whether it was or wasn’t a penalty; by the letter of the law it was correct, but perhaps a 50/50 chance that the referee gives it. Overall, it was a bit harsh on OM that they were behind at the break. For the most part they had plenty of possession and had looked lively, but a general lack of cutting edge was again the problem. This continued into the 2nd half where despite starting better and looking like they might get level, they just couldn’t manage to find a way to create enough chances.
Joey Barton, who had a number of shots, was to come very close through a diving header but it hit his own man (Jordan Ayew) and came to nothing. Not long afterwards, Steve Mandanda was beaten by a 25 yard strike where he perhaps should have done better. Undoubtedly the shot was well hit, but much like when Zlatan scored that ridiculously long free kick against him before the international break, I’m pretty sure a genuinely world-class keeper would have saved it. Mandanda is quality, but he has regressed a bit in the last few weeks and from certain long range positions he seems vulnerable.
The 2nd goal took the sting out of the game and OM’s heads dropped slightly. The hosts should have made it 3-0 but wasted a couple of chances. For the majority of 70 mins, OM were arguably the better side so will be aggrieved to have lost 2-0. In terms of the performance, there were plenty of positives and the team seemed to gel together nicely. The negatives are a defeat, conceding at crucial moments and that lack of penetration in the final 3rd to convert dominance into chances.
For a more detailed report, including player ratings – please visit the OMUK blog