Ligue 1: why OM can no longer do it at the Vélodrome


The subject annoys André Villas-Boas. “I don’t need your questions to know that the team is playing badly”, he squeals when reminded that this is the first time since 2011 that OM have not won any of their first three games at the Velodrome. How to explain this sluggish departure, while OM receives this Saturday evening (9 p.m.) its old Bordeaux rival?

The absence of the 12th man, the audience. ” It’s complicated without the supporters, recalls Jordan Amavi. They are an added strength. “For the former Marseille goalkeeper coach Stéphane Cassard, currently in Strasbourg, this absence is the main cause of OM’s difficulties at the Vélodrome:” In Marseille, the public and the players are one. Some evenings, for example against Leipzig in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, in 2018, we felt from the warm-up that we were going to spend, just with the atmosphere! “

OM is not the only club to suffer from the virtual absence of an audience. Economist Carlos Cueva, who has studied the results of 30 professional leagues, found that “since behind closed doors, teams have an 8% more chance of winning when they are at home, compared to 16% previously. “Clearly, the advantage of a home game has halved with the health crisis. According to him, it is probably because the referees are more severe since there is no more public: “It is possible that the social pressure affects [d’habitude] their perception of faults. “

An overly readable game plan. Heavy pressing, quick counterattacks. The recipe led OM to second place in Ligue 1 last year. André Villas-Boas tries to reproduce it. But this time, the opponents are aware and the Marseillais have less “juice”. “We are unable to play the game, plague Kévin Beuzet, supporter of OM and responsible for the tactical popularization site” The work of the Shadow “. There is no binder between the lines, as soon as you want to start from behind, it’s complicated. And we stretch a lot rather than go back to the ground. “

Villas-Boas gave the matter a lot of thought during the break. “We worked on an alternative system this week,” revealed the Marseille coach, before smiling: “I talk too much…” Will he try a 3-4-3? ” It’s a possibility. These are things that we have started to put in place. Hiroki Sakai is a player who can adapt as a central defender. “

Attackers down. Suspended for two games, plus a suspended sentence, Dimitri Payet will have to follow OM-Bordeaux from the stands – almost empty – of the Vélodrome. André Villas-Boas considers the sanction of the disciplinary commission to be “abused” (sic). Anyway, he can only count intermittently on his playmaker, rather disappointing this season (a goal, an assist). Florian Thauvin, impressive in Brest after a long absence, is so far decisive only outside. And Dario Benedetto has just gone six games without scoring. “Flo and Dimitri need to be in good shape at the same time,” says Stéphane Cassard. They will be able to serve Benedetto and they will perform again, I have no doubt about that! “

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