The French club had a busy peri­od

Feb­ru­ary 15 in Ham­burg in the first match of the 1/16 finals Europa League Shakhtar will play against Mar­seille. Unlike the Min­ers, who were forced to spend two months only play­ing friend­ly match­es and train­ing camps, Mar­seille spent a full peri­od – with offi­cial games, the absence of a num­ber of col­lec­tions and unsuc­cess­ful results. We’ll tell you why Mar­seille is approach­ing the first match with Shakhtar.

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Spent less than Shakhtar on transfers

Mar­seille can­not say that they have made some noise in the trans­fer mar­ket, but they have made sev­er­al inter­est­ing sign­ings. First of all, we are talk­ing about 21-year-old defend­er Quentin Mer­lin, whose trans­fer from Nantes cost 10 mil­lion euros, as well as the pur­chase of 23-year-old Cameroon nation­al team for­ward Faris Mum­banyu for 8 mil­lion euros from Boudet-Glimt, who played 50 match­es for the Nor­we­gian club scored 24 goals and pro­vid­ed nine assists.

Read also: Com­pared to the start of the sea­son, Shakhtar lost its ros­ter val­ue, Polesie’s ros­ter almost dou­bled

Mar­seille also arranged the trans­fer of Rus­lan Mali­novsky to Genoa and sold Renan Lodi to Al-Hilal for 23 mil­lion euros. Note that in gen­er­al, the French club spent less this win­ter than Shakhtar (22 mil­lion euros ver­sus 24.7 mil­lion so far) and less than in the win­ter trans­fer win­dow of the 2022/2023 sea­son (22 mil­lion ver­sus 40).

Two wins in eight matches

Mar­seille played its last match in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion on Decem­ber 14 in the Europa League group, los­ing to Brighton away (0:1). Since then, the team has played eight match­es in two tour­na­ments — the cham­pi­onship and the French Cup. They won two, end­ed in draws in five (one was lost in a penal­ty shootout), and lost one.

Over a two-month peri­od, Lille man­aged to beat Gat­tuso’s team on Feb­ru­ary 4 in the cham­pi­onship (1:0), and Rennes in a penal­ty shootout in the 1/8 finals of the French Cup (1:1 in reg­u­lar time). At the same time, Mar­seille in this peri­od only won against Cler­mont in the cham­pi­onship (2:1) on Decem­ber 17 and against Thionville in the Nation­al Cup (1:0) on Jan­u­ary 7. As of now, Mar­seille’s win­less streak in all tour­na­ments totals five match­es. The team has one match left before this sea­son’s record streak of six match­es with­out a win in August-Sep­tem­ber.

Gen­naro Gat­tuso, pho­to —

Gattuso showed worse results only in Valencia

Gen­naro Gat­tuso has made 22 appear­ances in all com­pe­ti­tions at Mar­seille since Sep­tem­ber. Nine — won, sev­en — end­ed in a draw, six — lost. On aver­age, the Ital­ian spe­cial­ist scored 1.55 points per match. Over the last 6.5 years of his coach­ing career, Gattuso’s per­for­mance was worse only in Valen­cia – 1.18 points per match.

For exam­ple, in Milan Gen­naro aver­aged 1.75 points per match, in Napoli — 1.89. Tudor, who led Mar­seille in the 2022/2023 sea­son, had 1.83 points per match.

Nine players at the 2023 African Cup

True, for the sake of fair­ness, it is worth not­ing that in the last month and a half, Mar­seille was miss­ing 9 foot­ball play­ers who went to the African Cup as part of their nation­al teams.

Yes, the 20-year-old goal­keep­er of the Cameroon nation­al team, Simon Nga­pan­duetnbu, cer­tain­ly can­not be called a seri­ous loss, as well as his team­mate, 19-year-old for­ward Fran­cois Muguet, who played nine incom­plete match­es for Mar­seille in the first part of the sea­son and, as already men­tioned, went to for rent in Dunkirk. Anoth­er Cameroon­ian, men­tioned above, Faris Mum­banya, man­aged to play 116 min­utes in two match­es for Mar­seille and score one goal before leav­ing for the nation­al team.

But the Moroc­can mid­field­ers Azze­dine Unai (19 match­es, 2 goals in all tour­na­ments), Amin Arit (26 match­es, 2 goals and six assists), the cen­tral defend­er of the DR Con­go nation­al team Chan­cel Mbe­m­ba (24 match­es, 5 goals (!) and an assist) – loss­es very seri­ous.

Ismaila Sarr. Pho­to — Get­ty Images

As well as the play­ers of the Sene­galese nation­al team — mid­field­er Pape Gueye (who man­aged to play 3 match­es for Mar­seille before leav­ing due to dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion), wingers Ismaila Sarr (22 match­es, 4 goals and 2 assists) and Ili­man Ndi­aye (25 match­es, goal and 3 assists).

Dif­fi­cult cal­en­dar

On the oth­er hand, Gat­tuso’s team had a rel­a­tive­ly easy two months cal­en­dar-wise. For exam­ple, out of six match­es in the cham­pi­onship, four were against oppo­nents occu­py­ing places in the sec­ond half of the table, and three were against out­siders. And Stras­bourg, which was ninth at the time of the meet­ing with Mar­seille, can­not be called a very dan­ger­ous oppo­nent.

In the French Cup, Gatuz­zo’s team met in the 1/16 with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the fifth divi­sion. So it turns out that in two months, Marseille’s only seri­ous oppo­nents were Rennes and Mona­co, the match­es with which the team end­ed in a draw (they lost to Rennes in a penal­ty shootout).

Between the match­es with Shakhtar, Mar­seille will play with Brest, which is in fourth place and has become the sen­sa­tion of the first part of Ligue 1. After that, there is a short respite in the form of fights with the miss­ing stars from the sky Cler­mont and Mont­pel­li­er, and then there is a dif­fi­cult stretch: Nantes, Rennes, PSG, Lille, Nice.