Nice – OM: Preview and Potential Lineup

L’OM finally returns to action after a long international break. Right before the break, Frank McCourt bought the club, turning Marseille upside down. The timing was crucial, as the week off has allowed the dust to settle, and for the team to return to action in relative calm. However, les Marseillais return to action facing a quality Nice team. Nice, despite losing Ben Arfa to P$G, have top players around the field. They have recently acquired Mario Balotelli and Younes Belhanda, shoring up their midfield while providing a striking partner to Valère Germain. OM, with the late additions of William Vainqueur and Clinton Njie, seem to be improving with every week (so far). Tomorrow’s primetime game is slated to be a dogfight. Analysis and Projected Lineup – click “Read More”

Gomis_Lorient

Photo source – om.net

OM – Which Formation?

Franck Passi finds himself with a tough question to answer: 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3? With Diarra and Cabella out, the center of OM’s engine is a big question mark. Passi’s preference has always been 4-2-3-1, but without a true #10, Passi would have to take a risk and try Thauvin behind Gomis. With Thauvin in the middle, Khaoui or Sarr would most likely line up on the wing. In the 4-3-3, the midfield would most likely have Vainqueur, Zambo, and Machach, while the attacking trio would be Thauvin-Gomis-Njie.

Personally, I think the 4-2-3-1 with Thauvin is the best option. It is the system the team is familiar with, and Thauvin is capable of playing well in the #10 spot. Playing in the 4-3-3 would require an adjustment in system and would push the midfielders to step into new roles. With Vainqueur new and Zambo still very young, I feel this experiment would not work, especially given how well Nice can counter.

This video highlights the speed and ability to counter of the Niçois attack

Post-McCourt Hangover?

The sale of the club sent shockwaves through the city of Marseille, as well as fan networks around the world. McCourt’s arrival inspired joy, concern, and curiosity throughout the weeks since, and the focus on the team reached a fever pitch. The press circled every press conference, asking tough questions to Passi and the players. I was concerned the scrutiny would stunt a team that is looking to build a collective spirit and identity this season, against a tide of doubt from the fans.

However, the energy around the sale of the club has subsided, and most people have accepted that the specifics of the new owner will not be known for months. The team can approach this Nice game without distractions, and if they achieve a good result, optimism around the team may return.

Win to Earn the Fans Back 

Anyone can agree that this season has been a pleasant surprise, given the expectations. Before the season had started, many fans had already projected l’OM to be relegated. With 4 points from 3 games, and the additions of Vainqueur and Njie, l’OM is showing signs of proving the fans wrong. The most important aspect of a team is a collective spirit, and with a group of relatively unproven players, Passi has an opportunity to create a united team from the bottom up. A win against Nice tomorrow would definitely send a signal to the fans that this team is worthy of the jersey and could begin repairing the relationship between the fans and the team.

My Lineup

Pelé

Sakai – Hubocan – Doria – Rekik

Vainqueur – Machach

Khaoui – Thauvin – Njie

Gomis

Merci, et allez l’OM !!!

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