Jorge Sampaoli is known for a few things. His fiery manner during the games, his passion for victory and the fluid way with which he sets up his team.
The Firebrand manager has a solid résumé but is best known for his time with the Chilean national team. He is currently leading French club Marseille back into the limelight after years of underperformance.
Sunday + 3 just hits sooooo differently ⚪️🔵 pic.twitter.com/hW2f7al2fL
– Olympique de Marseille 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) September 12, 2021
Les Minots, who secured a place in the Europa League last season, are currently unbeaten with three wins from their four games, the duel against Nice has been canceled. A big part of that success was the tactics Sampaoli used with the right staff over the summer.
OLD AND NEW FACES
Marseille wasted no time in reclaiming many of the familiar faces from the previous season and adding new firepower. William Saliba (back to Ligue 1), Pol Lirola, Matteo Guendouzi and Leonardi Balerdi all returned with some exciting new talent.
– Olympique de Marseille 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) September 9, 2021
Konrad de la Fuente and Amine Harit are two promising attackers for whom Marseille will be the perfect stage. In addition, the loan agreements of Pau Lopez and Cengiz Undertwo strengthen the squad, the tried and tested players with a lot of experience.
Recruiting has always been an important topic for Sampaoli over the years as it has been meticulous about the right fit for the right position.
Konrad De La Fuente had 13 keys in the opponent’s penalty area on his Ligue 1 debut for Marseille, more than any player managed in the opening round of the 2021/22 games.
Created three chances and completed three take-ons. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hJV7pnQ7Xa
– Squawka football (@Squawka) August 8, 2021
Now for this overwhelming tactic that everyone seems to notice in each of their coaching teams – with Marseille they started the new season with full swing.
In the 2-0 win against Monaco yesterday evening and in all previous games, there was a lot of discussion about the actual line-up of his team. On various football websites it has been listed as 3-3-3-1, 3-4-2-1 or 4-4-2. What is out of the question is the fact that his players rarely play out their position as the game progresses.
⚽️Jorge Sampaoli # FM21 Tactics 🇦🇷
Not finished yet! – Against Saint-Étienne, some sides say it was a 4-4-2, some say it was 3-4-3. I chose 4-4-2 because that looked like their defensive form. In possession of the ball, clearly not 4-4-2. They also had a 4 man line of scrimmage … 1) pic.twitter.com/msc19qJtsj
– RDF tactics (@RdfTactics) September 8, 2021
In fact, a lot depends on how your opponent is playing and how they’re setting up attacks. Right-back Pol Lirola regularly plays through the middle of midfield, while Valentien Rongier fills the right flank behind Under. Harit has started playing behind the distinctive options, which is also a unique trait in itself.
Game 🇲🇦✖️🇸🇳 changer pic.twitter.com/b9TWSoh5Vr
– Olympique de Marseille 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) September 12, 2021
In the absence of Arkadiusz Milik, the responsibility of being the man ahead rests on Dimitri Payet and, most recently, Ahmadou Bamba Dieng. However, the passing accuracy of this team has improved as 10 out of 14 players who have completed at least one game have greater than 87% success. Guendouzi was one of the greatest beneficiaries of it all.
Matteo Guendouzi against Monaco:
– 77 keys
-50 completed passes (87.7%)
-6 long passes completed (75%)
-3 key passes
Sampaoli takes him to the next level! pic.twitter.com/Jspj4OCrgR
– FutureCentro (@FutureCentro) September 11, 2021
The Frenchman has been involved in 15 shots while putting 59 pressure on the defensive. Sampaoli loves when his side pushes hard no matter what time of day. They have the lowest xG against in Ligue 1 at 1.91. Given how often the players swap positions, midfielder Rongier has become an important cog.
Valentin Rongier was also impressive for Marseille tonight:
⏱️ 90 ‘played
👌 62 keys
👟 30/37 according to passes
💨 2/3 successful dribbling
⚔️ Won 12/20 duels (most together on the pitch)
❌ 7 tackles (most on the court)
🧲 2 interceptions
📈 7.5 SofaScore rating#PSGOM pic.twitter.com/XUdUww97fK
– SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) September 13, 2020
He has 24.82 pressures and 4.48 P90 tackles, placing him in the top 96 and 99 percentiles across Europe. On the other hand, 20-year-old Saliba has become one of the league’s most agile center-backs. His 4.50 progressive passes, 5.42 progressive carries and 0.63 completed dribbles also put him above the top 90 percentiles.
William Saliba, Marseille 2021-2022 Center-Back Submission, Radar pic.twitter.com/TbVH3ZGfwx
– Scott “Says Football” Willis (@oh_that_crab) September 4, 2021
Sampaoli’s focus on smashing opponents with skillful movements helps confuse them as to whom to mark.
OWNING AND GAMBLING
Marseille have over 60% of the ball on average which ensures they have plenty of time to build up. Playing in from behind with attackers falling deeply allows spaces in the back that are well used. Under have improved their game significantly after a disappointing last season at Leicester City.
After Dimitri Payet in 2013 (3 goals) and Mario Balotelli in 2019 (3 goals), Cengiz Ünder is only the third Marseille player to score 3 goals in his first 4 Ligue 1 games in the last 10 seasons. Integration. pic.twitter.com/RWAFzbclyV
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 28, 2021
The Turkish attacker has received 9.29 progressive carries and 10.02 progressive passes so far, which underlines his overall commitment as a playmaker. He and Payet have made a brilliant partnership, but it’s not limited to just them. Harit’s uptake will prove to be a massive boost as he likes fighting defenders and beating them for pace / tricks.
🤯 Dimitri Payet scored a direct free kick in Marseille’s 3-2 win over Montpellier last night, his first in the league since December 2016 pic.twitter.com/R6UOkmx5OT
– WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 9, 2021
Since you didn’t have a real physical presence to begin with, their defenses need to be reinforced a bit. You have already conceded five goals that speak of a “high risk, high reward” approach, which is very often associated with sampaoli.
PSG started perfectly, winning five out of five, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. After defending champion Lille fell terribly under new leadership, it looks like Sampaoli and Co. have a great chance to push the capital club.
Sampaoli takes no prisoners and his passion speaks volumes about the demands he places on his players. It’s gearing up for a delicious race for the title and if PSG slips Marseille will be there right away.