Supporter's View | Important early test for Rudi Garcia's men12 Aug 2017
Not since 2013 have OM won their first two games of the season, and despite strong league finishes in both 2014-15 and 2016-17, in both of those campaigns we were left to rue slow starts in the league. Hence, it would be of importance to start as strongly as possible.
Nantes present an interesting test. They possess talented players in the form of Valentin Rongier and Prejuce Nakoulma, while Alexander Kacaniklic was a considerable threat in their first game last weekend.
Perhaps it is the sort of fixture OM need to win to confirm themselves as genuine contenders for a top three league finish. The Canaries are always a difficult opponent, both home & away, and a victory here would be a significant milestone for Rudi Garcia’s side.
Not only is it great preparation for the Europa League play-off against NK Domzale on Thursday, but Nantes have consistently been a difficult team for OM in recent years. You don’t need to look too far back to be reminded of the disappointing 3-2 defeat at Stade de la Beaujoire six months ago, a result which highlighted Nantes’ attacking prowess.
It seems Rudi Garcia and the team have learnt a lot from that fixture, with the club unbeaten in Ligue 1 since February. Meanwhile, Nantes are themselves seeking to get back on track after a hugely disappointing 3-0 defeat to Lille last weekend.
They were perhaps shorn of cohesion and attacking rigour. But in what is Claudio Ranieri’s first home game at Stade de la Beaujoire, it will be a different type of test – one in which OM would do superbly well to pass, and remain in the top positions of the Ligue 1 Conforama.
Captain Dimitri Payet is injured, so the match presents an opportunity for two-goal hero Clinton Njie to illustrate whether he can maintain his game-changing performances from last weekend. It could also see the first playing appearance of new signing Jordan Amavi.
The chance to get six points out of six against Nantes by 12 August is one which we shouldn’t pass up. Especially when you are reminded that it was not until 25 September last year that OM finally managed to pass six points after seven games. The opponents then? Also Nantes.
It will be a difficult fixture for sure, but one which could lay down an early marker about just how good this team could be.