The biggest problem they have is in between the sticks. Danijel Petkovic had a really poor season and I expected him to be replaced this summer. He really needs to improve his game otherwise some strange goals will be conceded again. Youngster Maxime Pattier will be the #2 keeper. This isn’t an ideal situation for Lorient. The defence itself welcomes three new players - two of them are Joris Sainati and Jonathan Martins Pereira. Both should be solid options, although the later will start the season injured and might not feature until the end of August. One interesting new addition is youngster Houboulang Mendes from Laval. He comes highly rated so is definitely one to watch. The best defender on Lorient’s roster is probably Vincent Le Goff at left back. Lindsay Rose and Felipe Saad are other viable options plus there are a couple of youngsters floating about like Kamissoko who might be ok. There is some potential for Les Merlus to be solid here, but the coach often plays guys out of position which confuses the situation. Lorient do have some decent enough defensive midfielders like Lemoine, Delaplace and Wadja so the option of a shield in front of the defence is there if needed. Landreau often played 4-4-2 last season which didn’t play to their strengths though.
Key players - Vincent Le Goff (DL), Fabien Lemoine (CM)
Denis Bouanga has left to go to Nimes and this is a blow. He wasn’t at his best last season, partly due to the coach not getting the best out of him, but for sure he is a fine talent when in the mood. It looks like Sylvain Marveaux will leave the club and there’s no guarantee that Jimmy Cabot will remain either. One piece of encouragement was the development of youngster Pierre Yves Hamel who scored ten goals in the previous campaign. Yoane Wissa should bag them a few as well and this will be his first full season at the club after joining from Ajaccio in January. The likes of Alexis Claude Maurice, Gaetan Courtet and Moussa Guel are alternative options and there is some depth here. I don’t think anyone will look at this offense and be scared though. There are some decent players and Lorient will have some good days in front of goal. But compared to some other sides they lack the star quality and elite options.
Key players - Yoane Wissa (ATT), Pierre Yves Hamel (ATT)
Coaching, other factors & conclusion
Unfortunately, in Mickael Landreau Lorient don't have a very good manager. A lot of people don't think goalkeepers make very good head coaches and Landreau added fuel to that fire last season. Without doubt, Les Merlus were the biggest flop of the year in my opinion. Landreau was given the best squad in the whole league and more resources than most clubs, yet could only lead Lorient to an 8th placed finish. This was WAY below expectations and I am surprised he was able to keep his job. Les Merlus should’ve breezed promotion with the squad they had. It was clear that Landreau never got the most out of his top players, and his tactics were often all wrong as well. I don’t think Lorient will make any progress unless they sack him - which could easily happen at some stage this year. It might be that FCL are the most overrated side in Ligue 2 this season until Landreau departs. Expectations will be high but I could see them having a poor campaign in midtable. On paper they have lost some quality and the squad itself is only slightly over par in terms of talent. Lorient won’t be terribly bad or anything but overall I sense they’ll have a frustrating campaign.
Prediction - Midtable