SCO Angers - Olympique de Marseille (L1, 9th day): In attack, OM pulls the ball out of the transfer window.
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SCO Angers – Olympique de Marseille (L1, 9th day): In attack, OM pulls the ball out of the transfer window.

OM could really have expected worse. Nowhere near as close to recovery after the first international break as it was last spring, and PSG’s runners-up, was far from clear in the heart of the summer. It wasn’t all right, and it wasn’t surprising for a club without coaches and their off-season style of play. Marseille’s defense, second in L1 (5 goals conceded), responded with good candor given the important departures recorded in this sector. But the situation is not the same as in the attack. With 16 goals in 10 matches in all competitions, OM can show better offensive performance.

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There is no risk in being late. But there is cause for concern for a team that has scored only three times in its last four games. The reasons are multiple. The management of Dimitri Payet’s case goes back to the heart of the controversy as the Reunion family has been raining and glistening on the Cannipiere River in recent years. Gerson’s underperformance is also not unusual for this phenomenon. But the problem is also in the end. And that was entirely to be expected because the transition period left OM helpless in this region, following the departure of Arkadiusz Milik and, to a lesser extent, Cédric Bakambu.

Sanchez still hides misery

Marseille has not yet fully paid the consequences. He owes it in large part to Alexis Sanchez. However, suspicions about the Chilean were legitimate. His ability to stick together, given his advanced age, status as a luxury clown at Inter and the playing time it entails, were not far from his guarantee. The former Barcelona player, OM’s top scorer this season with four goals, has shown relief since his arrival this summer. Even in a leading offensive role which is not his favorite position.

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The question is whether it can continue. Already in great demand by Igor Theodor, Sanchez played both matches of Chile in full during this international break. The rest is a marathon of 11 matches in 44 days for Marseille, from Friday’s trip to Angers to the duel against Monaco on November 13 at Louis II. Igor Theodor has every interest in managing his Chilean striker’s playing time because his presence has been crucial since the start of the season. But the problem with the Marseille coach is that he does not have the capabilities.

Suarez is not (yet?) an option

Luis Suarez’s beginnings might suggest otherwise. The striker, who arrived from Granada for €10m, had a stunning debut with double on the bench, certainly full of success, in his first match against Reims (4-1). The 24-year-old Colombian looked like the discovery of Pablo Longoria, president of Marseille, who is famous for his ability to find good deals in the transfer market. But less than two months later, the budding enthusiasm for his potential gave way to doubts about his true level.

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Unsurprisingly. Suarez’s recruitment responded more to the logic of preparing for the future than having a striker capable of making an immediate impact. His biography was consistent with this. Despite 62 La Liga appearances before reaching OM, the Colombian still lacks experience at the highest level and remains in a legitimate stage of adapting to a new tournament, within a club with higher requirements. So its insufficient performance must be put into proper perspective. But the result remains the same. Suarez cannot be considered a reliable option with an OM attack, at least for the time being.

Ding, a symbolic return?

This leaves Marseille facing a lack of attack, and the Olympic management needs to remedy it to live up to its ambitions. She could radically change strategy with Bamba Deng in this regard. But the departure of Senegalese striker Marseille was a surprise last season with 7 goals in L1, but it seemed that he scored. It took an incredible scenario on the last day of the transfer window, and his medical visit to Nice, failed, for the 22-year-old not to leave La Canebière. Without really settling the conflict with its leaders. And without being part of Igor Todor’s plans.

More than anything else, Dieng’s comeback is taking shape. Tudor had already started it before the armistice. “In fact, he had a complicated summer, that’s the wordThen get to know the coach of Marseille. He is a wonderful and kind person, he is as good as good bread. He trains with us and is now part of the group.” Ce renfort dont Marseille a tant besoin en attaque pourrait ainsi être un joueur dont le club pocéen voulait se séparer en priorité. Le paradoxe peut prêter à sourire. Mais l’OM en est bien arrivé à me ce point comî son a ball.

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