Wednesday, January 19, 2022

After a weak start, Gerson finally saves for Marseille. NWN News

Marseille, France (NWN) — Gerson finally pacified his critics with a decisive goal. Marseille now hope the Brazilian has silenced them for good as the nine-time French champions pose a credible challenger to a place in the Champions League.

Brought to southern France from Flamengo this summer, Gerson faced sharp criticism along the Cannabeer – the famous city of Marseille Avenue running from the old port – as the 24-year-old midfielder struggled to live up to expectations.

However, his brilliant goal in a 1-0 win over Nantes midweek propelled Marseille to second place behind runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Saturday’s game against Brest at the Velodrome Stadium.

PSG, who dropped points At home for the first time this season against Nice, they have a 12-point lead at the top of the standings, but Marseilles have one match in hand. PSG Lens is fifth on Saturday.

Gerson’s arrival in July was Marseille’s biggest expense in the transfer window for a reported fee of 20 million euros ($22.6 million). Four games into the season, he had one goal and one assist but then quickly faded.

In his second spell in Europe after Serie A stints with Roma and Fiorentina, Gerson failed to adapt to the management of Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli. Argentine coaches often ask players to switch roles and Gerson is moved from his preferred slot in the central midfield to the left and right flank and is also tried as a playmaker.

The constant changes did not help the technically proficient Gerson settle down and his recent matches against Galatasaray in the Europa League and Troyes in Ligue 1 had critics questioning his true value.

However, against Nantes, Gerson played his best match this season in an unusual centre-forward position, when Sampaoli left Arkadiusz Milik on the bench. In addition to his goal, Gerson played with intensity and had a good rapport with Dimitri Payet throughout.

“This is exactly the version of Gerson we want to see,” said Sampaoli, who prioritized recruiting the Brazilian. “He was aggressive-minded, managed to break into our opponent’s box. He also recovered the balls and was very active. So we bet on that.”

It remains to be seen whether Sampaoli will continue to use Gerson in this attacking role, but it proved to be a good substitute for the 1993 European champions, who were looking for a fifth consecutive clean sheet and third consecutive win when they hosted Brest. Will be


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