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OM: Nuno Tavares, for the worst... but above all for the best


FOCUS – Unstoppable in Igor Tudor's system, the Portuguese side is as dangerous offensively as he is feverish defensively.

With Igor Tudor's OM, we know what we have… and what we don't have.

Zero surprises, an immutable plan, with its strengths and weaknesses clearly identified.

Same thing with Nuno Mendes.

Arrived at the end of July on the Canebière after a long soap opera, the one that Pablo Longoria had raised to the rank of priority quickly imposed himself in the 11 Marseille.

Power, energy and intensity are all qualities that seduced the president of OM, who has also been in office for two years.

A "

very attacking player

", as described by the main interested party, forfeited against PSG three weeks ago (2-1) but who will be on deck this Sunday (8:45 p.m.), for this long-awaited Classic at the Vélodrome.

A major asset for Tudor, who will nevertheless have to do without Samuel Gigot (injured) and Chancel Mbemba (suspended).

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It was the latter who made the difference on Ruslan Malinovsky's winning goal in the second half.


He's a great player, he likes to bring on the offensive plan, to attack the space, but we have other players who are able to do it

", underlines the 23-year-old Portuguese, trained at Benfica and loaned to the 'OM by Arsenal.

He was probably at least partly thinking of himself when he said that.

Because Nuno Tavares excels in the opposing half of the field.

A real modern piston.

OM's second top scorer

Fast, athletic, technical, he "

likes to make crosses and assists even more than to score


This does not mean that he forgets to shake the nets.

Already six goals.

Not bad for a “defender”… He's even Marseille's second top scorer this season, behind Alexis Sanchez (13).

His latest goal?

No later than last weekend, during the victory in Toulouse (2-3).

A match that perfectly sums up the player that is Nuno Tavares, what he brings, his strengths, his shortcomings.

We will come back to it.

Read alsoTops / Flops Toulouse-OM: Mbemba as a blaster, a too naive TFC

In the meantime, the native of Lisbon has everything to please Igor Tudor.


We consider him one of the best left pistons in Europe, a very physical player who has everything we were looking for

," explained President Longoria during his official presentation


Aggressiveness, speed, verticality, very good in one against one defensively, good ball management… We are going to develop a more physical, more vertical game in which we ask more of the players on the side, it had become the priority to recruit.

I've known him for a long time, I've always considered him one of the most athletic, interesting players on the left.

“We saw why the Spanish leader had bet on him, taking advantage of his good relationship with Arsenal.

It is indeed the third Gunner loaned to OM in recent years after William Saliba (returned to the Emirates) and Mattéo Guendouzi (transferred).

The Seleçao in the viewfinder

I will try to do as well as them, or even better!

trumpeted Tavares last summer, not failing to display his World Cup dreams with Portugal.


He is still waiting to celebrate his first selection for the national team, he admits to being inspired by his compatriot Joao Cancelo, who recently moved from Manchester City to Bayern Munich.

A question of time?

If necessary, he would find several players… from PSG, Nuno Mendes, Danilo Pereira and Vitinha, even Renato Sanches when he is not injured.

There is no doubt that Roberto Martinez, successor to Fernando Santos at the head of the Seleçao, will have a watchful eye on the performance of the Marseille piston in the weeks and months to come.

Maybe even this Sunday, against a PSG that does not scare this (very) confident player.

I had played (the first leg) in Paris and I am used to this kind of opposition, whether in Portugal or in England.

It won't be a problem for me.

I'm obviously excited, like all my teammates

, ”he swears before this Classic, which he does not see as a turning point in the fight for the title.

And this even if OM would be down to two points if they win… “

There are still a lot of matches left.

The idea is not to return to two points from Paris but to take three.


“, he hammers.

We don't care if Mbappé will play or not because we are focused on us.

Nuno Tavares

To win, Marseille will, this time, have to deal with Kylian Mbappé, package three weeks ago but very present.


We don't focus on just one player.

We will play our game. Mbappé will play, but we have Sanchez, Ruslan, lots of players, they have others too.

We don't care if Mbappé is going to play or not because we are focused on us

, ”says Tavares, who will, a priori, have few opportunities to directly cross Bondy's crack.

Too bad for the Marseillais, because his speed could have done good to try to thwart the plans of the 24-year-old Parisian arrow, that's for sure...

Read also“With the team they have, they should win all the matches”: Tudor puts pressure on PSG

However, the defensive aspects are not the ones in which Nuno Tavares excels the most.


We saw it again during the victory in Toulouse, Mikkel Desler having made him suffer.

The regulars of the Vélodrome have taken their side: the Portuguese is as exciting on the offensive level as worrying in the defensive register.

We can see a lack of maturity, some imagine a certain selfishness.

He is also capable of "

losing his head

", according to Tudor, as during his expulsion from Montpellier (1-2).

The number 30 of OM, he gets annoyed when we talk to him about his defensive feverishness.


Defensively, everyone has a job to do.

If a player doesn't, we'll have problems... We've been trying to improve since the start of the season.

(...) We do not defend only with Nuno Tavares.

We are a group

, ”he squeaks.

Good news ?

The right side is not the strongest PSG side offensively speaking, especially without Achraf Hakimi, out this Sunday.

A little tour and then go away?

One thing is certain: it is especially the Parisians who will have to be wary of the impact of Nuno Tavares on his left side.

A significant variable compared to the recent round of 16 of the Coupe de France.

Despite his defensive limitations, the Arsenal player – 28 matches and a goal in 2021-22 after his €8m transfer from Benfica – is nonetheless a good pick signed Pablo Longoria, excellent, the latter failing to include a call option.

Read alsoLigue 1: “We will have to do the opposite of what we did during the Coupe de France match”, insists Galtier before OM-PSG

What about his future?


Everyone knows that I still have two years of contract at Arsenal (until 2025, editor's note).

I don't think about that.

We will already finish the season, I will return to Arsenal and we will see.

I am fully focused on achieving our goals here

,” he explains.

And to add: “

I feel very good here, with the players, the coach, the chemistry … But I really can't guess the future.

“The present passes in any case by Paris and this Classic which promises to be boiling, with all the people of Marseille who dream of a second victory in a row against the rival.

With a seventh goal from Tavares?

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-02-25

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