Olympique de Marseille ran out comfortable 3-1 winners in the end against an out of sorts Girondins de Bordeaux, as the two sides met in the seventh round of Ligue 1 matches this season. Both teams went into the game with the same points tally after their opening few fixtures and as a result sat side by side in the table, but this game turned out to not be a particularly close contest as the home team found themselves 3-0 to the good with just over an hour played.
OM took an early lead after a wonder strike from Florian Thauvin after 5 minutes, and he then should have doubled their lead shortly after but the Frenchman missed the penalty that had resulted from Sabaly bringing down Amavi in the Bordeaux area. Bordeaux threatened on occasion, with most of their joy coming from neat link up play between Ben Arfa and Adli with the former seeing what would have been a well worked equaliser chalked out for offside, whilst they also had a couple of set pieces which stung the palms of Mandanda in goal for the home side. Yet Marseille never looked too flustered, and as a result were good money for their 1-0 lead at the break.
Less than 10 minutes into the second period, Jordan Amavi doubled their lead as his flick on looped over the helpless Benoit Costil, and then another 10 minutes after that the game was put to bed as Amavi’s shot took a huge deflection off of Bordeaux centre back Pablo and found the back of the net. After the first half an hour or so, the away side were barely able to threaten but they did pull one back in the 83rd minute after substitutes Jimmy Briand and Josh Maja linked up with the latter firing home the consolation goal. You can read my thoughts whilst I was watching the match here:
Bordeaux were really hurt by the absence of veteran defender Laurent Koscielny who has been at the heart of their solid defence so far this season, and whilst they did have a lot of creative players on the pitch in the likes of Oudin, Adli, Ben Arfa and De Preville who were able to create some openings, they lacked a focal point for them to feed off and sometimes found themselves outnumbered in central midfield due to Marseille’s narrow formation. The away side had kept 5 clean sheets from their opening 6 games prior to this match and will be disappointed to have not given a better account of themselves, but they will not be too disheartened by a defeat away at last season’s second place team.
Marseille on the other hand will be delighted to have picked up their third league win of the season off the back of three consecutive 1-1 draws and a 2-0 defeat. Especially with their Champions League campaign due to kick off this week, meaning they may struggle with fixture congestion over the coming months. They set up in a narrow 4-1-2-1-2 formation, with a diamond of central midfielders consisting of Kamara at the base, Cuisance behind the strikers and Rongier and Sanson either side. As a team they showed glimpses of their capabilities in this match, with the four midfielders often linking up effectively and the full backs providing a lot of attacking support having been given a licence to get forward and provide the team’s width. Thauvin was the stand out player in the first half, scoring a wonderful goal and causing all sorts of problems for the Bordeaux defence, whilst the second half goals came courtesy of an unlikely source in the form of Amavi from left back. In the end this was a comfortable victory for OM to set them back on the right track after stumbling through the last few weeks.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Croatian
- Age: 24
- Date of birth: 17/09/1996
- Current Club: OM
- Career: Šibenik, Pasching, Red Bull Salzburg, Liefering (L), OM
- Position: Centre Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Ćaleta-Car was solid at the back for Marseille, showing good aggression when defending and vision when in possession. Standing at 6’4 and with a strong build, the Croatian defender is physically very imposing and he used this well to win aerial duels and stand strong in challenges to win possession for his team. He is brave and aggressive, and likes to use his size to dominate the opponent and prevent them from winning flick ons or muscling past him, but he also showed a good turn of pace for a big man and he was able to cover ground fast enough to sweep up any loose balls.
For the goal that they conceded, he was somewhat hesitant before committing to the challenge and as a result Briand had already released the ball, and the defender was injured in the challenge and forced to come off, but the goal cannot be blamed solely on the Croatian as their were other defenders on the cover who also failed to prevent the shot. He displayed decent reading of the game to decide when to drop off or step up and he was able to sweep up loose balls and pick off a couple of opposition passes to regain possession. Due to his size, the 24 year old is not the most agile, and as a result he struggled when the attacker was running at him on occasion, finding himself too tight to the attacker and being forced into making clumsy challenges that eventually resulted in him receiving a yellow card. He should be careful not to overcommit or get too tight to his man as if he is turned then he can give away fouls or be taken out of the game if a quick and skilful attacker gets away from him.
On the ball, the Croatian was fairly accurate, completing 58 of his 70 attempted passes, whilst he is also very ambitious when picking out passes to teammates and can be a creative force from deep areas. Ćaleta-Car is comfortable and composed in possession, happy to put his foot on the ball and scan for options, and he rarely looked flustered even when under pressure, making smart decisions to get rid of the ball and clear the danger if necessary rather than looking to overplay. His long passing was particularly impressive and he found several passes to pick out the full backs who had run into space in wide areas. To win the penalty he played a perfectly weighted ball over the top for Amavi to run onto before he was brought down. A few passes failed to find their intended targets, but his ability to find players in advanced areas made him a valuable asset for the team, especially since they used the full backs so much in forward and wide areas.
Overall, this was a good performance from the 24 year old who was able to physically dominate his opponents whilst also spraying some accurate longer passes from centre back. He must be careful not to overcommit to challenges and needs to make sure he controls his aggression, but on the whole it was a solid game for the defender.
- Nationality: French
- Age: 21
- Date of birth: 16/08/1999
- Current Club: OM (On loan from Bayern Munich)
- Career: Strasbourg (Y), Schiligheim (Y), Nancy (Y), Nancy II, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich, OM (L)
- Position: Centre Midfield
- Secondary Position: Attacking Midfield / Defensive Midfield
- Preferred foot: Left
On his debut for his new club, Cuisance lined up as the most attacking of the four central midfielders, playing just in behind the two strikers of Thauvin and Benedetto. On the whole it was an impressive display from the 21 year old that gives him something to build on as he settles into his new surroundings. His passing was probably the best part of his game, linking up well to keep the attack ticking along nicely and demonstrating good levels of vision to pick out switches of play. He acted as a bridge between the midfield and attack, offering an option for the strikers to lay the ball back to, but also providing a link for the midfield to pick out and then progress the ball up the pitch with his passing range. The 21 year old was accurate when finding teammates, coming off after 73 minutes with a 94% pass completion rate.
He showed that he is capable of linking up neatly in tight areas and also spreading the play, whilst his final ball was to a good standard, picking out Amavi after some smooth interplay, whose shot then deflected off Pablo into the Bordeaux net for the third goal. He is obviously a very tidy player who likes to maintain the flow of the move, and his movement was another part of his game that impressed. Cuisance showed good game intelligence to make runs into wide areas to provide an advanced option for the full back or to free up space in the middle of the park, and although he is not the most athletic, his tactical awareness and ability to find space was impressive.
The Frenchman started the game rather sluggishly, allowing a few loose or heavy touches to get away from him and he struggled to get into the game during the opening exchanges. He lost possession on a few occasions on account of heavy touches or miscontrolling the ball and he would do well to improve upon this area off his game based on this match alone. Standing at 5’11 and with an average build, the midfielder did not stand out physically in this match, seeming to have an ok turn of pace when moving into space, but being outmuscled quite easily once or twice, whilst he did nothing noteworthy in the air.
He was aggressive when defending and looked to get in the face of the opponent and hassle them into making a mistake or playing the ball backwards or sideways. Positionally he played quite an important role defensively, picking up the opposition defensive midfielders and preventing them from progressing the ball into their more creative players further up the pitch, and he did this effectively.
It was a tidy yet unspectacular performance form Cuisance for his new club before being withdrawn on the 73rd minute, and, as mentioned earlier, it will provide him with a solid platform to build on as he settles in. His passing range, composure and movement were impressive, but he struggled physically at times and took a bit of time to settle into the game, giving away possession cheaply on a couple of occasions early on. I’m looking forward to seeing how the highly rated midfielder performs this season in Ligue 1, and I will be keeping a close eye on his displays for Marseille in both the league and Europe.
- Nationality: French
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 23/11/1999
- Current Club: OM
- Career: OM
- Position: Defensive Midfield
- Secondary Position: Centre Back
- Preferred foot: Right
This was a relatively quiet display from young Frenchman Boubacar Kamara, who played as the deepest of the four central midfielders, providing some defensive balance to the side and allowing the others to join the attack.
His passing was neat and tidy yet unremarkable, as he completed 48 of his 52 attempted passes, but many of these were short passes to his midfield teammates or sideways or backwards to the defenders. The 20 year old was conservative with his passing, never really trying any ambitious balls, whilst he rarely drove with the ball at his feet and instead elected to keep possession and allow the more creative players in the team tome more progressive. He was rarely put under any real pressure when in possession and Bordeaux began to sit deeper having pressed high at the beginning of the match, and he played a couple of simple switches of play and limked up well in the opposition half once or twice, but he did provide defensive security should Marseille lose the ball.
The Frenchman broke up the play effectively at stages, being very decisive in his tackles and making sure to get a foot in whenever possible. He covered well when his midfield teammates pressed up higher or were caught on the ball and swept up any loose balls effectively in front of the defence, ensuring that his team could maintain control of the match. He is 5’10 but has a strong build which allows him to compete in duels, whilst his leap allowed him to be an aerial presence if required. He covered a good amount of ground and worked hard for his team, but occasionally he was a little overeager to win back possession and as a result committed three fouls in quick succession which put his team on the back foot and perhaps he was lucky to not receive a yellow card for accumulation of fouls.
Kamara was solid in midfield, but even with little pressure on him, was not very progressive with the ball, whilst although he was generally impressive defensively, he sometimes caught the opposition player and failed to win the ball, resulting in dangerous free kicks for Bordeaux. I would need to watch Kamara on a few more occasions before passing judgement, as it is difficult to make any statements about him based on this performance alone.