Marseille run turns into crisis after Quevilly loss

It was a seventh successive defeat in all competitions as the club sink and enter a real crisis. The cup defeat was a major shock, coming as it did against a third tier team.

It was a dramatic victory for Quevilly, with a last minute winner in extra time giving them a famous win that they will savour for a generation. For their opponents, it was the latest shock and the most galling wake up call after a disastrous run of form.

As Souleymane Diawara put it after the match, “In the dressing room, no-one said a word, we all had our heads hanging pretty low. We’ll have to talk about it all tomorrow though. We need to get back on track, because we’ve lost the plot.”

Marseille’s form seemed to have been improving too after a disastrous start to the campaign which left them bottom of the league. They recovered and were up and near the top of the league again after a new year surge, but now they are sinking back without trace. A defeat at Brest led to a disastrous run. A defeat at home to Toulouse raised questions, and then Evian beat them 2-0, Ajaccio defeated Marseille and last weekend Dijon did so too, meaning all three promoted teams have beaten the 2010 champions during this shambolic run.

In between times they lost to Inter Milan in the Champions League, though progressed still on aggregate on away goals. But this is a desperate time for Marseille, whose boss Deschamps has been in public feud with Jose Anigo, the club’s sporting director, for much of the season.

Their dispute seems to be causing the club serious problems, though they have still managed to show some flashes of brilliance. Mathieu Valbuena completed a remarkable Champions League comeback as they scored two last minute goals to beat Dortmund and qualify for the second round. But much of Marseille’s best work has been with Valbuena, Loic Remy and the Ayew brothers in tow, as well as the ever impressive Morgan Amalfitano. This run coincided with the loss of those players as a unit as the African Nations Cup began.

And since Marseille have been unable to arrest this form. What they do now is key but they have some serious questions to answer and problems to address. This is a team in danger of meltdown, and something needs to happen to prevent Deschamps’ side from succumbing to what seems an inevitable fate. European qualification is key yet seems far off. Sitting ninth in the league, just ahead of Evian, they are struggling.

Deschamps position is safe, partly because he ended a long trophy drought when winning the league in 2010. But also because he was the man who had lifted the last trophy they won as a player back in the 1990s. Vincent Labrune, the club President, has assured Deschamps his position is safe, but it will soon be asked, is it time to even say au revoir to the World Cup winning captain?