On December 12, 2020, by winning against Monaco (2-1), Olympique de Marseille had a sixth consecutive success in Ligue 1, climbed on the second step of the podium (despite two games late) and logically eyed the head of the championship. A little over a month later, when going to play on the Rock, Saturday 23 January, the Marseillais are now sixth and have plunged into the crisis.
Between these two matches, André Villas-Boas’ men have (almost) not won. Despite a favorable schedule, OM has only one victory (against Montpellier, to start the year), has lost four times (against Rennes, Angers, Nîmes then Lens) and draws two matches (against Reims then Dijon), series to which is added a defeat against Paris-Saint-Germain in the Champions Trophy, on January 13.
Low level of play
Marseille did not seem to suffer, on the national scene, from the accumulation of matches in the fall, despite its parallel campaign in the Champions League. Since their elimination, head down, from European competition (with a record of five defeats in the group stage), the partners of goalkeeper and OM captain, Steve Mandanda, have not kept pace. The last two defeats, which occurred in quick succession at home (against the relegable Nîmes then against the promoted Lensois), further increase the pressure.
4 – Marseille only attempted 4 shots against Lens, their lowest total in a Ligue 1 home match since… https://t.co/qR0xUz51OD
If the Olympians players have been saved from the bronca of their supporters because of the general closed door on the stadiums of Ligue 1, they are not escaping their wrath. From the stands, the messages on the banners installed for Wednesday, January 20 against Lens were crystal clear: “You shame us”, “You are disgusting”. Several criticisms were also raised against the president of the club, Jacques-Henri Eyraud.
Beyond recent criticisms (which relate to the results), the quality of play on the field has never been able to convince, during this season. Against Strasbourg, at the beginning of November 2020, the Marseillais had won 1 to 0, but having shot only once on the whole match.
Even in the first leg against Monaco, OM had won 2 to 1 thanks to their only two shots on target over the entire ninety minutes of play (to which must be added three attempts not barely framed). Eleventh attack in Ligue 1 with 26 goals, OM are very far from the performance of the teams in the first four places, which are credited with at least 35 achievements each.
If Florian Thauvin, with six goals and seven assists in Ligue 1, floats a little, it is much less the case for the other attackers – such the Argentinian Dario Benedetto (four goals and four assists) or, more speaking still , Dimitri Payet (three goals and as many assists).
To get out of the doldrums, the whole Canebière has its eyes on the team’s new center-forward, the Polish Arkadiusz Milik. Arrived Thursday in the Phocaean city, the player loaned by Naples for a period of eighteen months responds to the request for reinforcement in tip which had been formulated by André Villas-Boas – after the failures recorded with the Greek Kostas Mitroglou, but also with Dario Benedetto or Valère Germain.
The 26-year-old Polish striker, in conflict with the Italian club, has not played since the start of the season (except in the national team). He could thus play his first minutes of play for 2021 on the lawn of the Louis-II stadium.
A 🇵🇱 with an accent 🇮🇹 arrives at @marseille 👀🔥 Welcome to the Olympique de Marseille @ arekmilik9 😁💙 #DroitAuBut https://t.co/bBgvoy9u5X
Coach André Villas-Boas has proposed his departure
When OM were still engaged in their winning streak, Portuguese coach André Villas-Boas did not hesitate, on several occasions, and to protect his players, to raise their voice against the journalists who questioned him about the level of play of his team.
Since then, the pressure has been further accentuated on the former coach of Porto, who admitted, after the meeting against Lens, to have proposed his departure to the management, following the defeat suffered against Nîmes four days earlier. “If you haven’t seen a game, it’s my responsibility. I made my place available last week; I have no problem with that “, he explained, recognizing on the other hand the “Physical and tactical superiority” of the northern team.
The same goes for the team captain, Steve Mandanda, absent against Nîmes but back against Lens, and who said at the microphone of the Téléfoot channel: “We talked a lot, shouted. There were a lot of things to say in the locker room after Nîmes, without much reaction [ensuite]. I think there are a lot of things to change within the club ”, especially ” state of mind “ players.
“When you are an Olympique de Marseille player, you have to be able to have character, to take responsibility for my… https://t.co/uGrkPwpxWT
After a start to the season during which they were spared from injuries, the Marseillais are now caught up by the accumulation of matches. Midfielders Valentin Rongier and Pape Gueye came out slightly injured on Wednesday. They join Boubacar Kamara, affected against Nîmes, as well as defender Jordan Amavi, held off the field since December.
The Marseillais are therefore preparing to play a series of stubborn matches: until the beginning of March, it is nothing less than Monaco, Rennes, Paris, Lyon, Lille or even Bordeaux which are on the program.