In Marseille, everything is fine in the best of all possible worlds and it is not the draw against a good team from Angers at the beginning of the season that will change this situation. We can still report on the fan overflows at the Raymond-Kopa stadium and the sad episode in Nice. For the rest, nothing seems to disturb the tranquility and strength of a squad increased this summer by a multitude of arrivals. Among them, Pau López was supposed to compete with Mandanda and installed by Jorge Sampaoli in OM’s goal for four games and two weeks. Grain of sand in the next machine?
If we look at the results of the Olympique de Marseille for 15 days, it is difficult to prove that the volcanic Sampaoli is wrong. In three games (Montpellier, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne), Mandanda conceded six goals as López retained his inviolable goal three times in Ligue 1 (Monaco, Rennes and Angers), conceding only Tino Anjorin’s killer goal in the Europa League. against Moscow (1-1). As for the championship, López writes history. According to Opta, he is OM’s first goalkeeper, since François Lemasson in 1997, not conceding goals in his first three games in the French top flight. And for OM, it was necessary to go back to January-February 2020 to find the trace of said series.
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But there are the raw statistics and the slightly more precise ones, those that give information about the real contribution of a player or a goalkeeper in this case. Is OM’s recent success that of Pau López or that of his defense? Does it depend on the exclusive work of the Olympic bloc or also on the opposing offensive weakness? In four outings, the former Roma, where he did not shine especially, had to face, in all and for everything, … four shots on goal.
Pau López was not decisive against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League
Credit: Getty Images
“I know Steve is an idol of the club, he has to fight against a present, against a system, the competition is embodied by a goalkeeper who has just arrivedreplied Jorge Sampaoli, still questioned on the subject on Friday at a press conference. I know that it can generate discussions, controversies, Steve represents the history of OM and has to face its present ”. The Argentine’s choices with his goalkeepers begin to be questioned.
Kicking game, change for Mandanda?
We understand that López, recruited as “number 1a”, takes the lead after the last international break but we do not necessarily think that he would play more than Mandanda after two short months of the season. “I will give a sincere answer, I do not want to do correct politics., assured two days of the duel against Lens (8:45 p.m.). We just wanted to test Pau López, see how he adapted to the group, to the system. ” So far, nothing that allows you to see more clearly.
“For us, in our idea of the game, the goalkeeper is just another outfield playerhe continued, however. He is the one with the most time to make the first pass. We must choose the best possible goalkeeper for each gameTherefore, Sampaoli and his team would choose Pau López for his skill with his feet, considered superior to that of Mandanda. It may be true, but so far, neither the statistics nor the general impression have confirmed the case. However, it should be noted that López has touched more than 40 balls on three occasions when Mandanda has never exceeded that number this season, so López would be more integrated into the game than his competitor.
Steve Mandanda during Marseille – Lens, 2021
Credit: Getty Images
Sampaoli: “Today, I don’t know”
Is this enough to justify the removal of Mandanda who does not say his name? The answer to this question can be given when López is more involved in his line. “We have to choose the best possible goalkeeper for each game. Perhaps, depending on the characteristics, keep a goalkeeper for each competition. Today I do not know“Sampaoli sincerely concluded.
For now, his luck is that OM’s defense looks much more solid than at the start of the season. Taking the time to install Lopez may pay off in the long run, but Olympians will soon scoff at the first mistake. Pau López’s CV does not guarantee the indulgence of the stands, a political force in their own right in the city of Marseille. For a long time we waited in Marseille for a Mandanda competitor, a real one. Why not a young man that the latter could have taken under his wing before passing the torch. At 26 years old, Pau López does not have this profile and it is in his interest not to miss it. You don’t push a legend to the bench with impunity.
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