Nantes-Olympique Marseille: all aboard!12 feb 2017
Olympique Marseille ended 2016 with four consecutive victories in Ligue 1 in December. Two of these meetings were away matches, at Dijon and Bastia. These two wins were the first on the road and, unfortunately, no more have followed as yet. Whereas the Marseilles team had really struggled to maintain their advantage while away to Rennes or Nice, for example, we thought that they had overcome their away woes with two victories that followed a similar playbook, with Olympique quickly opening the scoring, followed by a late-match equalizer and a winning goal in the last few minutes (or even seconds).
Two wins that were earned by the character and mental strength of a team that looked as though it had momentum. However, since the winter break, Olympique have not managed to perform away from their home turf. They lost against Lyon, being beaten by a team of a different caliber than Dijon or Bastia, and against Metz, against whom victory seemed to be within reach.
Fortunately, their performance at home is completely different. While defeat against Monaco hurt, Rudi Garcia's men rapidly got back on track with wins against Montpelier and Lyon in the Coupe de France and, most recently, against Guingamp. By earning these points, OM managed to be one of the trio of teams on 36 points, alongside Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne, and therefore part of the pack chasing Lyon, currently in fourth.
After beating Guingamp and before playing Rennes at home, Marseilles will be playing Nantes away. This trifecta of Breton clubs, a quirk of scheduling, should allow them to move up the table and build confidence before hosting PSG at the end of the month. Among the three Breton clubs, Nantes is the lowest-ranked and also the only club where OM will be playing away from home.
To score their first away win in Ligue 1 of 2017, Olympique will have to show the same qualities that they did at home against Montpelier and EAG. In order to help them dig deep, they will at least be able to count on the backing of nearly 800 supporters.