With a few injuries, a struggling team, and enraged fanbase, OM prepares to face off in Marseille against a quick and talented Rennes side. While OM fans can immediately predict that OM will yet again tie this game 1-1, this could be a wild game. Rennes love to attack, and OM tend to perform better against teams that open up their game. OM fans (unless they sit this one out) will also get to witness a new talent in Ousmane Dembélé. The 18-year old has been lighting it up for le Stade Rennais all season. Should be a fun game, at the least.
Currently, OM is toiling in one of the worst ruts in recent memory. In the past 14 games, OM’s record is 4-2-8 (W/L/D). This may not seem bad, except two of those wins were in the Coupe de France against teams from National and CFA2 (smaller leagues). The other two wins came against Montpellier, one in Ligue 1 and one in CdF. With all of the draws finishing 1-1, there is plenty of frustration to go around. Despite promising young players, and hard workers, the team simply isn’t getting it done. Rumors of a club sale and a fracture in the locker room have added even more pressure. Still, we as fans should not forget to support the team through good times as well as bad. “Pour l’OM, pendant les hauts et les bas”.
Here are some of my key thoughts for this matchup:
Score at least 2 goals
This season, the defense has not been strong. Mandanda has done all he can with some incredible performances, but this unit is likely to let in at least one goal per game. The only way to ensure a win is to score at least twice. With the offensive talent in this group, this is possible. It is up to Michy and co. to start putting away chances and taking pressure off of other parts of the team. Scoring will force opposing teams to attack more, leaving them exposed to counters by Nkoudou and Cabella.
Watch out for Dembélé
Tomorrow, OM fans may get a glimpse of a future French star. The 18-year old has lit up Ligue in this season, offering 9 goals and 4 assists. He is quick, technical, and electric. He reminds me a lot of Nkoudou when he plays. He harasses defenses, always looking to capitalize on errors. His pacing runs and eye for goal are also incredible given his age. This leaves OM vulnerable, as the defense has found itself making poor passes and controls all season. He must be watched. Check out some of his highlights.
Will we get to see Diaby?
When OM signed Diaby last summer, I was so excited. OM, already equipped with Lassana Diarra, needed another dominant midfielder to achieve dominance in the middle of the park. Diaby was in need of a second chance, an opportunity to slowly return to play in a less-physical league. Now, we are in April, and Diaby has not been seen. His inclusion in the group, and appearance for the reserves this week, could be promising. At this point in the season, I say play him. What does OM have to lose? If he plays well, sign him up for next year. He could fill a gap next season in case Diarra leaves.
My Lineup (I am feeling adventurous)
Dja Djédjé – Nkoulou – Rolando – Manquillo
Isla – Diarra – Diaby
Cabella – Michy – Nkoudou
VICTOIRE IMPÉRATIVE !