Upon the final whistle, I wasn’t sure if I felt pleased or frustrated. It turns out, it was a bit of both. OM and a weakened OL battled out to an intense 0-0 draw. Both sides had glorious chances that were wasted, and both teams showed a lot of spirit. OM has improved in the defense and midfield, displaying more solidity in the back and an encouraging passing game in the middle. However, while the attack did a good job of creating chances, the lack of a killer instinct in front of goal is a concern for this season. Let’s look at some highlights of the game.
Source – om.net
Note – if you want to skip and watch the resume, it is at the bottom!
The defense: what a difference a few weeks can make! The OM defensive line, showing plenty of weakness at the beginning of the season, has shown encouraging signs of improvement. Sakai was tested against Lyon, but proved his worth in defense today. He had several key clearances, and provided a couple tackles. He is a gifted offensive player, but I was more impressed with his defensive ability tonight. Doria, once considered the black sheep of the group, is now appearing to be the best defender on the team. He still has a bit of a loose style of play, but offered a ton of interceptions and tackles against Lyon. He could end up being the bright spot of this season. Yohann Pelé deserves an honorable mention, as his early goal-line save kept OM from suffering a disastrous start to the game.
In the attack, Thauvin had a decent outing. While he did not play his best game, he had a couple great tackles and piercing runs. He also had a couple great crosses, including one to Gomis (who volleyed it off the post). Also, Clinton Njie showed his incredible speed, nearly converting a last-minute 1-on-1 after winning a footrace that would have given OM the victory.
As usual, OM’s goal tally remains an issue. This game saw several wasted chances where OM players either made poor decisions in front of goal, made technical errors, or didn’t hit the ball well enough. One example was Gomis, receiving a pass at the top of the box, literally skied his shot nearly straight up. It was one of the worst shots I have ever seen, made even more agonizing by the fact that he was in a great position. I know I’ve been harping on Gomis a lot, but come on!
Despite the frustrations, this team is shaping up to be a good one. There is solidity at almost every position, and there seems to be a good spirit. The players fight for every ball, and seem to be gelling well. I stand by my idea that this year will be a good one. Just in time for McCourt to take over, the team could be on the upswing over the next couple months. We shall see what the coming weeks bring. Next match: Rennes – OM on Wednesday. Merci et allez l’OM !
Pelé – 5.5
Sakai – 5.5
Hubokan – 5.5
Doria – 6
Bedimo – 4.5
Zambo – 4.5
Vainqueur – 4.5
Thauvin – 5.5
Sarr – 4
Leya – 3
Gomis – 4