Before the start of the season, everyone was talking about how Marseille was going to be the team to beat. Yeah, Bordeaux might have been the defending champions, adding on to their solid team. And sure, Lyon had lost Benzema and Juninho, but replaced them with, what some can argue, even better talent. But still, all the talk was about Marseille at the start of the season.
So, when the season started, Marseille didn’t look like the best team in the world. Personally admitting that I though Marseille were overrated, and that both Lyon and Bordeaux were better teams (which I still do actually), the sloppy play of Marseille was starting to prove me correct. Game after game, most of us talked about this sloppy play or that sloppy play, usually involving defensive miscommunication between Souleymane Diawarra and Gaby Heinze. Basically, Marseille looked far from a team that could win the Ligue 1 title.
In addition, Marseille didn’t get the results that they were expecting in the Champions League either. Yes, advancing out of a group which had both Real Madrid and AC Milan is a hard task for anyone. But Marseille, while looking good in some of those games, again had communication breakdowns, especially in the defensive zone.
But while all of us were talking about how bad Marseille were doing, there is one thing that we didn’t notice. Marseille was actually winning their games. In the back of our minds, we knew that Marseille was near the top of the table, but we kind of forgot that when watching them play sub-standard football.
But now those wins have paid off. If Marseille didn’t get those ugly, and I mean ‘very ugly’, wins at the start of the season, they would not be in the position that they are in right now. And, honestly, that is the difference between Marseille and, lets use my team, Toulouse, right now. While Toulouse might have been plagued with injuries this season, they did lose a number of close games that they could have won, both in Ligue 1 and Europa League play. And now those close games, where they ended up being the defeated and not the victors, has hurt them deeply.
But Marseille has stuck in there and didn’t let all the talk of bad play get to them. After consecutive loses to Valenciennes, Real Madrid and Monaco, OM moved ahead with a nice undefeated streak, which included the famous 5-5 draw at the Stade Gerland in Lyon. After losing to Lens in the French Cup, Marseille did another impressive unbeaten run. And even though they exited the Europa League, which I think was a surprise to many, they continued to play impressively in Ligue 1.
Add this composure to the fact that they also won the League Cup, and Marseille are looking like the “Phoenix” team, a team that rose from the dust and ashes and became a power yet again.
And even with their current standing, they continue to get more news. Didier Deschamps will not be the coach for France next year, as he made if official yesterday that he will be staying at OM at least until his contract runs out in 2011.
Still, while Bordeaux and Lyon are going to be kicking the crap out of each other this weekend, Marseille will have to play Boulogne. Another three points, and a possible loss of three points in Bordeaux for Lyon osrLes Girondins, means that OM will, more than likely, have one of their main rivals for the Ligue 1 title out of the picture. But we have no idea who that will be yet. And, compared to the other teams that are fighting for the title, Marseille has an easier schedule, playing four of the six worse teams in Ligue 1. And out of the tough teams remaining, they have to play Auxerre, Rennes and Lille.
So, as of right now, the destiny of Marseille is in their hands. If they can continue to win games (I know, kind of an obvious statement), they should win it all. Honestly, they really have to ‘screw the pooch’ to mess this thing up now.
Filed under: Uncategorized