OM faces their own exit from the Europa Ligue, as they travel to Bilbao for the second leg of the Europa Ligue knockout phase. After a tough 1-0 loss in Marseille, where OM had chances but fell to a wonder-strike from Aduriz, OM goes to Spain needing to score at least 2 goals. With the offense sputtering at the moment, let us hope the high stakes of the matchup galvanize Michy and co. to find the back of the net, and often. Preview and My Lineup to follow.
OM warming up in Bilbao. Source – om.net
Facing elimination, OM will have to go all out to hope for the next round. All of the struggles of this season will have to go away in one game. The defense will need to push for a clean sheet, something that has been a challenge all season. Despite letting up a wonder-goal in the first leg, the defense was lucky to not let in a couple more. Diarra and Isla will most likely put in another strong performance in the midfield, so the key is in the attack. Our big question of the day is – what attacking lineup should Michel play?
Could OM lineup two strikers together? It’s possible. Michy has had trouble receiving quality service and getting the ball into his feet. Fletcher is a target man striker that loves to pass the ball off to supporting midfielders. Midfielders could play the ball into Fletcher, who could distribute the final pass to Michy that has been missing. Also, both are scoring threats. Michy will not be as isolated up top. With Cabella more of a dribbler than passer, Fletcher could be a solution to Michy’s problems. However, Cabella has been dangerous in the past few games, so I don’t see Michel benching him.
Who to start on the right flank?
Despite two assists since returning, Alessandrini has played very poorly. Looking to dribble nearly every time he has the ball, he has often been a source of lost possession and frustration. His assists have come from set pieces. Thauvin is another question mark. Since returning, he has failed to make an impact on the game. Dribbling too much, making technical errors, have been the common mistakes he has made. Also, given his status, many fans are quick to criticize him.
I say, what about Sarr? He is fast and strong, and has put in a couple good games. His biggest quality, for me, is his eye for passing. The winger always seems ready to pass, which is what has been lacking in this offensive unit all season. With each offensive player looking more and more like dribbling one-trick ponies, Sarr offers another dimension.
Isla – Nkoulou – Rolando – Manquillo
Romao – Diarra
Allez l’OM !