Marseille struggling after costly summer exodus

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Olympique de Marseille is a club with rich history and huge domestic and European pedigree. No club has won the Ligue 1 title more times than L'OM since the league's establishment in 1932, and they have lifted the Coupe de France a record ten times. Marseille lives and breathes football and come match-day, the whole city shuts down for 90 minutes. 

The golden era of the French giants seems to be in the past, though. Their Ligue 1 title in 2010 under the guidance of Didier Deschamps is somewhat of an anomaly considering it is their only since the 91/92 season. Over the past few decades, they have had some incredible players: Abedi Pele, Rudi Voller, Marcel Desailly, Eric Cantona, Zinedine Zidane, Franck Ribery and many, many more. They are a club always being forced to sell their finest talents.

The summer transfer window was again one of upheaval as Marseille were obliged to let some of their best players go, in part, to pay back some of the debt from their new stadium expansion. Last season's top scorer, Andre-Pierre Gignac, moved to Mexico, young holding midfielder Gianelli Imbula went to Porto while Florian Thauvin (Newcastle), Andre Ayew (Swansea) and Dimitri Payet (West Ham) left for the Premier League.


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They also lost their manager just one game into the new season, after Marcelo Bielsa quit following their home defeat to Caen. Perhaps there is another narrative that hasn't yet been exposed, but what's for sure is that Marseille are not a club showing stability and continuity going into the new season. 

Ayew has been scoring and creating freely in his first month at Swansea, Payet is already showing why he is considered by some to be one of the finest creative talents in Europe. Meanwhile, their former employers have made a stuttering start to life without them.

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Marseille have blown very hot and cold so far this season. When they're good, they're exceptional. The 6-0 drubbing of Troyes a few weeks back and the 4-1 thrashing of Bastia at the weekend show how good they can be.

Young Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi has taken on the mantle of the club's main goalscorer,  proving himself to be a capable replacement for Gignac with three goals in five league games. Romain Alessandrini has also provided goals and assists from wide areas.

However, these two convincing home wins are not enough to mask the problems at Marseille. They currently sit in mid-table with six points after three losses to Caen, Reims and Guingamp - three teams they really should be beating.

Next weekend Marseille welcome Lyon to the Stade Velodrome, which will be an exciting match, with Lyon themselves struggling for form and consistency after losing their talisman Nabil Fekir to a long-term injury. This could well be a season of consolidation for both clubs and, with Monaco selling their prized asset Anthony Martial, it seems that the Ligue 1 title could be gift wrapped for PSG once more this season. 

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