Ligue 1: in the midst of turmoil, OM stays the course before their perilous trip to the Parc des Princes

Cyrille de la Morinerie / Photo credit: ANDRE WEENING / DPPI VIA AFP
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7:43 a.m., September 24, 2023

If the motto “Fluctuat nec mergitur”, which could be translated as “beaten by the waves, but do not sink”, is indeed that of Paris, it describes the situation of Olympique de Marseille quite well. The Phocéens, who travel to the pitch of Paris Saint-Germain this Sunday evening for the classic of the French championship, are going through a troubled period. The open crisis between management and some supporters led to the resignation of Spanish coach Marcelino and president Pablo Longoria, who ultimately chose to stay in office, says he was threatened during a meeting with supporters, which the latter firmly deny it.

But if, behind the scenes, the boat is rocking, on the ground, OM is staying the course. The sky and whites obtained a Homeric draw Thursday evening in the Europa League on the pitch of Ajax Amsterdam (3-3) and rallied around the interim coach, Jacques Abardonado, 45 years old. Former defender of the club between 1998 and 2001, he grew up in the Castellane district, like a certain Zinedine Zidane, and is a distant cousin of André-Pierre Gignac, former OM striker.

“Resolve defensive problems”

Thursday evening, his men managed to revolt, but, at the Parc des Princes, a different story awaits them. “In the European Cup, the players showed that they were mobilized. They made common cause and were strong collectively. Now, on a technical level, they will have to resolve the defensive problems they experienced against Ajax because with the offensive potential of Paris, it could be dramatic for the Marseillais”, analyzes Europe 1 consultant Alain Giresse, former OM player and ex-PSG coach.

The attacking trio of the Parisians concentrates a large part of the fears on the Marseille side, more particularly Kylian Mbappé, already the author of eight goals since the start of the season. But the capital club, beaten by Nice at home last weekend (2-3) then winner of Borussia Dortmund this week in the Champions League (2-0), still needs to fine-tune certain adjustments. For OM, who have not won at the Parc des Princes for three years, it will be about beating the odds.

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