Didier Deschamps' side are yet to win in Ligue 1 this season, having been held to a scoreless draw by opponents who arrived at the Stade Velodrome with a perfect record
Both sides would hit the frame of the goal in this encounter – OM through Loic Remy and Sainte from Bakary Sako – yet neither outfit would make a decisive play, despite the guests finishing with 10 men as Jean-Pascal Mignot was dismissed.
The first period would be monopolised by the hosts, who didn’t allow their opponents even a shot at goal as they completely dominated affairs. Didier Deschamps’ side, though, would struggle to find any incision, and though they mustered a healthy number of efforts at Stephane Ruffier’s goal, few of these were struck with any great purpose.
Lucho Gonzalez skidded a low shot narrowly wide before having a hand in the creation of his side’s best effort of the game, which came from Remy, who struck the post from close range.
Marseille, however short of imagination they were, lacked also in luck. Midway through the first period, Deschamps’ men should have been awarded a penalty when Jean-Pascal Mignot handled in the box, yet referee Philippe Kalt missed this indiscretion.
For the opening 45 minutes, Saint-Etienne had largely been content to play only a defensive part in this encounter, but Christophe Galtier clearly told his side to be more offensively focused after the interval.
Flat | Lucho failed to inspire his side
Their pace in attack caused many problems for Marseille’s defence. One speedy burst down the left saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave Cesar Azpilicueta in his wake, though the attacker’s cut-back was hammered off the underside of the bar by Sako, who really should have scored from just 12 yards out.
Aubameyang was not the only visitor to pose the Spanish right-back a problem. Bakary Sako also had the beating of the youngster for pace, one on occasion touching the ball by home custodian Steve Mandanda only for Nicolas Nkoulou to clear from the line.
Though Marseille would offer the greater threat in the final 15 minutes, the match was closed out without any great fanfare. Andre-Pierre Gignac, making his first appearance of the season after injury, had a header athletically tipped over by Ruffier, and with time running out Jean-Pascal Mignot of Saint-Etienne would be dismissed after receiving a second yellow card, but that came too late to influence the result.
OM paid for a slow start last season by missing out on the title, and Deschamps’ will now be fretting that a similar fate could befall this team this time around after a flat showing.