Led by Sanson and Thauvin, l’OM absolutely demolished Saint-Étienne, in a must-win game. After a slow start, OM’s attack broke the game open, killing any suspense as the game progressed into the second half. After three consecutive ties, with OM scoring 1 goal in 3 games, this was the perfect reaction in the race for a European spot. Continue reading for my thoughts on the game.
Twitter post by Florian Thauvin (2 goals and an assist today!)
Thauvin Continues his Great Run of Form
As l’OM’s attack stuttered over the past few weeks, and Gomis slowly recovered from his injury spell, the team needed someone to step up and make the difference in front of goal. Against Saint-Étienne, Thauvin did just that. In the penalty box, Thauvin displayed his finishing by putting away a cross from Sanson, and later on beating a defender for speed before slotting the ball inside the post. As well, he offered a great through ball to Gomis, who expertly put the ball away. Involved in 3 goals tonight, Thauvin put in a 5-star performance, in a big game. With his recent call-up to France, and his desire to continue with the team, these are the performances l’OM and the fans expect from him. With 12 goals and 6 assists in Ligue 1 this season, Thauvin is emerging as the attacking leader l’OM needs.
Gomis Finds his Scoring Touch
Whatever you may think about the oft-criticized Gomis, the man has scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 for OM this season. To put it in perspective, Gignac scored 21 Ligue 1 goals during the Bielsa season. While struggling in big games, Gomis has carried the team in terms of goal scoring, week after week. After suffering from a knee injury several weeks ago, Gomis has returned and struggled to find form. Failing to create even a chance in the last couple games, I wondered if it would be best to rest him for a game. Today, Bafé Gomis proved me wrong. After missing a big chance and being beaten for pace on a break away in the first 30 minutes of the game, I thought my doubts were confirmed. Minutes later, Gomis responded in perfect fashion. Taking a pass down from Thauvin, Gomis expertly tipped it across his body, before volleying the ball inside the opposite post. A true striker’s goal, and a perfect response to anyone (including me) who doubted him. The rest of the game, he displayed his typical effort and grit, getting involved in both shooting and passing to nearby midfielders. With l’OM needing wins for every game towards the end of this season, now is the time for Gomis to get going.
The Race for Europe Begins
With Bordeaux currently in 5th place, they are currently holding the last Europa Ligue spot in Ligue 1. Qualifying for Europa Ligue has been the main objective for Marseille this season, and required the team to win against Saint-Étienne today. With only 5 games left in the season, 1 point separate Bordeaux (5th place) and Marseille (6th). Marseille currently has the edge in goal difference by two goals, which will likely come into play to decide the 5th place spot. For me, this is the ideal situation at this stage in the season. With so much anticipation for the summer mercato, some feel like this season is a throwaway. The Europa Ligue ambitions of the new administration have given this team new ambition for each game that remains. Now is not the time to improve statistics and coast to the finish line – every game is a must-win game. On top of that, Marseille travel to Bordeaux on the 37th day, where the 5th place spot will likely be decided. Marseille have not won in Bordeaux in over 30 years (I am still baffled by this stat), so this year would be a great way to go into Bordeaux and leave with a win. Get your popcorn ready – this is going to be a tense few weeks.
Current standings. Sourced from lfp.fr
Pelé – 5.5
Sakai – 5.5
Sertic – 6
Rolando – 6
Evra – 5
Lopez – 6.5
Vainqueur – 6
Sanson – 7.5
Thauvin – 8
Payet – 6.5
Gomis – 7
Merci, et allez l’OM !