Olympique Marseille: Ligue 1 Title Contenders?
With the start of the Ligue 1 season this weekend, much of the talk centered on how the Ligue 1 title race would be focused on just two teams realistically having a chance to win. Those two teams are the nouveau rich Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and AS Monaco.
Well, after a week in, Olympique de Marseille have stepped up and made its claim to be thought of as a legitimate contender.
Olympique de Marseille, or L’OM as they are also referred to, have strong arguments on their side as to why they are legitimate threats and contenders to prevent either PSG or AS Monaco from winning the league. For starters, they finished second last season to PSG. While L’OM was beaten out by a PSG team who just proved to be too much, they made PSG have to clinch the league in the third to final game of the season.
Entering the 2013-14 season, L’OM are a team which finds themselves able to carry over the positive play they put forth last season. For starters, they were able to hang on and retain their top players, in particular attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, who was the joint top assist man last season in the league with 12.
Retaining their key core group of players allowed club management to go out and pick up some reinforcements to complete the team. Their top summer acquisition came in the form of French international Dimitri Payet, who comes over from Ligue 1 side LOSC Lille and will help L’OM in the ability to score goals. Payet scored 16 goals last season and has already scored two in the first league game of the 2013-14 season.
While Payet was the most prolific signing, L’OM also added Giannelli Imbula and Benjamin Mendy, both players who played for Ligue 2 clubs last season but are young players who are very talented and are full of potential. Imbula was named as the Ligue 2 Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season.
L’OM got their 2013-14 season started with a comfortable 3-1 win over newly-promoted Guingamp as they scored all three of their goals in the opening 20 minutes. While PSG and Monaco have stolen all the headlines because of their superstar acquisitions, L’OM should not be a team to overlook as potential Ligue 1 winners. Don’t be surprised if they are in contention late in the season.
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