PLAYER RATINGS | Marseille 2-0 Nantes: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secures a fifth victory in a row for Jean-Louis Gasset

Olympique de Marseille have been in a rich run of form since replacing Gennaro Gattuso as manager with the wily figure of Jean-Louis Gasset. The seventy-year-old has brought a sense of calm to the pressure cooker environment in La Provence and the results have followed. Four wins in four for the fourth manager of the season, and finally a clean sheet as Marseille demolished Marcelino’s Villarreal during their midweek Europa League tie. 

The same cannot be said about Jocelyn Gourvennec’s FC Nantes where results have been inconsistent. Last weekend, a loss to FC Metz was particularly damaging as their opposition hadn’t won since November, leaving La Maison Jaune a place above FC Lorient in the relegation playoff spot. There was no danger of slipping further down the table tonight as their goal difference was far superior to Lorient’s but still the worries have begun to show for one of France’s sporting institutions. 

Nantes played a deep block that kept the Marseille front three quiet for a while until Ismaïla Sarr was able to attack Nicolas Cozza. The winger’s feet were a touch too tricky and he could drive a low cross across the goal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the fastest to react and opened the scoring, poking home the cross. 

The goal reflected Marseille’s superiority throughout the half as they created clever attacking combinations that saw them sweep through the congested pitch. Nantes rarely threatened their hosts outside of a few driving runs from Moses Simon, and Pau López had a quiet half only springing into action once. All that was missing for Marseille was missing was the finishing touches to put the game out of sight. 

The halftime break brought drastic changes for Gourvenne as he shifted his team around, swapping to a back four and bringing on Florent Mollet and Mostafa Mohamed. The result was Marseille struggled to adjust. The visitors pressed a touch higher and looked to unsettle the hosts with a big claim for a penalty. Gasset shortly made a triple substitution of his own as Jean Onana, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Quentin Merlin arrived on the scene. 

Despite the changes, the control of the game had shifted firmly away from the hosts, and for the first time under Gasset’s short reign, Marseille looked uncomfortable. They were unable to pass the ball through the lines and were pinned into their half as the visitors etched closer to finding their leveller. However, against the run of play the match was settled. Aubameyang latched onto a long searching ball. The forward tried to poke his effort past Alban Lafont but was blocked, but again he was quickest to react and shot through the defence’s legs to secure a far-from-simple victory. 

Marseille player ratings

Pau López, 5

Ulisses Garcia, 5

Leonardo Balerdi, 5

Chancel Mbemba, 6

Bamo Meïté, 6

Jordan Veretout, 5

Pape Gueye, 5

Amine Harit, 

Iliman Ndiaye, 5

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 – A quiet game for the forward across the two halves but served his team in the moments that counted. Nantes made life difficult with their compact shape in the first half, and suffocated service in the second, and yet he still managed to make the difference poaching two goals. 

Ismaïla Sarr, 7 – An effective first half from the winger who was called on in both attack and defence and provided the inspiration to gain the lead for Marseille. A far quieter second half as Marseille struggled with a new Nantes approach. 

Nantes selected player ratings

Moussa Sissoko, 6

Moses Simon, 6 – The biggest threat in the first half for Nantes. Always driving forward at the Marseille defence, but no end product to truly threaten the Marseille backline. A quieter second half as he shifted out to the wing. 

Tino Kadewere, 3

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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