France Ligue 2 – Amiens SC Season Preview 2020/21

Amiens Defence

Goalkeeper looks a solid area with Regis Gurtner and new signing Yohann Thuram battling it out for the gloves. The former has started the season injured after finger surgery and you would think retains his number one status but Thuram is no mug. There are going to be quite a few changes at the back with recently signed Molla Wague on loan from Nantes a needed addition in this part of the field. He is a big presence and at Ligue 2 level should be top class. I would expect Wague to eventually form a solid pairing with Nicholas Opoku. Both are big physical units who will dominate in the air. To start the season Amiens have been using youngster Nathan Monzango who did an ok job but it was always asking too much for someone with his lack of experience to spearhead a potential promotion challenging campaign. Amiens have signed Boris Popovic from Amiens and he could be another young option in the middle. In the fullback spots Mickael Alphonse should be a decent addition, even if he did get sent off on his debut. Adam Lewis is a young left back on loan from Liverpool who has started the first two games and looks like he has locked down that position. Amiens have depth in defence but most of it are younger players who are unproven. New signing Emmanuel Lomotey from Spanish club Extremadura can also play centre back but his main role is a defensive midfielder. Alexis Blin will be their top option here but Amiens lack depth considering Bongani Zungu looks set to leave the club. Thomas Monconduit is a loss from midfield after he was sold to Lorient for roughly £2m.

Key players - Molla Wague (DC), Alexis Blin (DM)

Youngster to watch  - Nathan Monzango (DC)

Amiens Offense

Serhou Guirassy was their top scorer last season. He actually started and scored in the first round of this campaign. Guirassy has now been sold to Rennes for a whopping fee of nearly £15m. Obviously, his departure leaves a big hole and the club have acted by bringing in Nigerian international Stephen Odey on loan from Genk. Samman Ghoddos looks to be the clear star for Amiens in the final third of the field. He should be one of the best attackers in Ligue 2 when in the right mood but there have been continued rumours of him leaving the club before the end of the transfer window. I am not sure his head is in the right place at the moment. Cheick Timite and Jayson Papeau look like getting some minutes after they returned to the club from loan spells, whilst winger Chadrac Akolo has been signed on a permanent deal for around £3.5m. Juan Otero and pacey Swedish striker Jack Lahne offer other potential options in this attack force. The likes of Moussa Konate and Stiven Mendoza are set to be sold. I think at the conclusion of this transfer window and certainly by the end of the January one Amiens will have the required weapons to compete towards the top of the league. However, at this stage they feel a bit disjointed and the connections won’t necessarily be there.

Key players - Samman Ghoddos (AM/ATT), Chadrac Akolo (Winger)

Youngster to watch - Jack Lahne (ATT)

Coaching, other factors & conclusion

It’s never easy being relegated from Ligue 1 these days. Amiens will consider themselves hard done by that they weren’t a million miles adrift last season and maybe would have survived if the league hadn’t been stopped due to COVID. The main problem here this summer is player turnover. There have been numerous arrivals & departures and this is something ongoing until the end of the window. There used to be a time when teams coming down from Ligue 1 had a high chance of going straight back up but apart from Metz in recent times it’s a much more difficult task. It took Lens & Lorient a number of years to regroup and already within the division there are teams like Caen and Guingamp who struggled last season after relegation. Amiens might need a couple of years to fully sort themselves out but expectations will naturally be high. Slovenian coach Luka Elsner keeps his job, which is unusual in itself considering he led them to relegation. He generally likes to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation and they conceded the second most goals out of anyone last season. It wouldn’t actually surprise me if he got sacked at some stage. I would imagine Amiens assemble a squad capable of challenging for the playoffs. But there could be some teething problems following a relegation hangover, high player turnover and uncertainty in the transfer market. They might be a difficult side to predict and there is a real feeling of instability here right now.

Prediction:- 7th Playoff contenders