After a demoralising, disappointing 2013-2014 season for Marseille, the club knew that something needed to be done to address the situation. That decision saw talented tactician Marcelo Bielsa take the helm at Marseille. The former Argentine, Chile and Athletic Bilbao coach was appointed and started work after the World Cup.
Marcelo Bielsa is a hugely respected figure in World Football and was hand-picked as a coach that could re-vitalise and energise this Marseille outfit that despite its sixth place finish insinuates great promise.
So far, Bielsa has done just what he was brought in to do; Marseille have blossomed early in the 2014-2015 season and are positioned first in the Ligue 1 mainly, because Goals have been easy to come by for Olympique de Marseille so far this season and Gignac leads the way again with eight goals to his name, but equally as impressive have been Florian Thauvin, Andre Ayew and Dimitri Payet who each have two goals to their name.
Marseille’s attacking force has been too overpowering for some sides this season and the vibrant and energetic Thauvin, Ayew and Payet have usually been the assembly of trouble, creating chances for the prolific Gignac.
The deadly front four have destroyed Stade Reims 5-0 away from home, Nice 4-0 at home and Stade Rennais 3-0 also at the Stade De Velodrome.
The only sufficient change in the forward line is with Payet. Payet now occupies the role of number ten role that Mathieu Valbuena had occupied for so long, but with his departure this summer someone had to step up and Biesla has given Payet this new responsibility and he seems to thrive off it.
The attacking force for Les Olympiens has been frightening this season, but should not be the only position to receive credit, as so far this season the defence has kept four cleans sheets out of a possible seven. Although a defensive crisis was expected due to the lack of depth, the defence has somehow remained tight this season.
The centre of defence at the start of the season was looking dangerously shallow and there seemed to be no stand out central defenders. Brazilian defender Doria was brought in on deadline day, but is yet to convince Bielsa he should be in the starting eleven. Instead full backs Jeremy Morel and Rod Fanni have played alongside Nicolas N’Koulou in the centre of defence.
Somehow solidity has been discovered, Morel more so than Fanni has established himself as a possible longer term centre-back. However it is key that Marseille are to look for a central defender in the next transfer market as they need to build around their foundations.
Marseille’s defensive midfielders are also to thank for the clean sheets, Giannelli Imbula and Alaixys Romao have guarded the defence effectively and as a result Marseille have conceded only a handful of goals to date. Particularly Romao, who has kept things tight and allowed Imbula to go forward on occasion and join the attacks.
Marcelo Bielsa has impressed in his early days and the 59-year-old will do his best to stretch out this impressive, captivating run that so far has only seen one loss and one draw. Marseille aren’t just beating teams under Bielsa they are devouring and dissecting them position by position, isolating Marseille as a team to watch this season.
The main question is though can they target the title? Whether they can use this momentum to push on and possibly provide Paris St Germain with some competition this season remains to be seen and would require incredible consistency and fitness to do so, but either way they are a team to watch this season and if you’d like to indulge yourself in some Ligue 1 action this term, Marseille are a great advocate for French football, well so far anyway.