OL's MDF stronger than PSG's MCN?
By D. Crossan
Mariano, Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir have scored 29 Ligue 1 Conforama goals between them this season; PSG's fearsome MCN "only" have 28 to their name. Next in the MDF's sights are second-bottom LOSC at Groupama Stadium on Wednesday evening.
It is not a good time to be playing OL, now up to second in the table ahead of champions Monaco on goal difference. Even without the ill Fekir they thrashed Nice, last season's third placed finishers, 5-0 at Allianz Riviera on Sunday afternoon with Depay scoring twice and Mariano getting on the scoresheet to move into double figures for the league season.
OL have scored three or more goals in seven of their 14 Ligue 1 Conforama games this campaign. Outstanding on the counter they have achieved the remarkable feat of scoring five without conceding in each of their last three away dates.
That said, OL were held 0-0 by Montpellier in their last home game and Bruno Genesio will be looking to Fekir (11 goals), Mariano (10 goals) and Depay (eight goals) to ensure coach-less LOSC don't manage to repeat MHSC's achievement in securing a shutout.
Underlining OL's hunger was Depay's reaction to being substituted at Nice. The Dutch international desperately wanted a hat-trick to match the one he'd struck at Troyes in another 5-0 win without the inspirational Fekir. Genesio spoke to Depay about the former Manchester United man's frustration and the incident is now officially closed. Genesio said: "It's normal. He wanted to score a hat-trick as that's important to a goalscorer. What matters to me is the series of matches coming up and he understood that."
Under pressure before the current fine run that also included a record 5-0 derby success at Saint-Etienne, a satisfied Genesio added: "We'd already played without Nabil Fekir at Troyes and the scoreline here shows the quality of the squad. We can rotate and the team still performs well. We played really well and were disciplined defensively, like at Saint-Etienne and Troyes, and we've got so much attacking talent capable of making the difference. To allow them to shine we needed to be good at winning the ball back. It's about teamwork."
LOSC's first match without Marcelo Bielsa resulted in a 3-0 loss at Montpellier as the "technical cell" appointed by the club to replace the Argentinian were unable to arrest the decline. Asked who was the coach against MHSC, defender Junior Alonso replied: "Joao Sacramento."
Officially Sacramento is just one member of the cell that also comprises Fernando Da Cruz, Benoït Delaval and Franck Mantaux. Da Cruz did the post-match press conference and said: "We mustn't be scared of going to Lyon but we will have to be vigilant as we can't afford to play the same way against them otherwise we'll lose by at least as much. We need to move on and focus on the game against Lyon. We'll put our finger on what didn't work in order to improve things. The training sessions have gone pretty well and the players were committed in them."
Christophe Galtier, the former Saint-Etienne boss, put his hat in the ring to become Bielsa's long-term replacement. Speaking to French television on Sunday evening Galtier said: "If I am asked then it is a project that interests me. I played there for three years. I am particularly attached to the club and the region."
OL: Lopes; Rafael, Marcelo, Diakhaby, Mendy; Tousart, Ndombele; Aouar, Fekir (c), Depay; Mariano Díaz
LOSC: Maignan; Malcuit, Soumaoro, Alonso, Ballo Touré; Mendes, Amadou (c), Thiago Maia; Bissouma, Ponce, Benzia