Simon Pontdeme is the starting keeper. He’s ok at this level but nothing special. Backing him up will be Xavier Pinoteau and Chambly were unbeaten in the 3 games he played last season. This is an acceptable keeper lineup which will do a job, but nothing more. A key man at the back for Chambly is Thibault Jaques who is a strong leader and also takes most of their penalties. Chambly often play with three central defenders and new signings from the lower leagues Bradley Danger and Lucas Camelo will be competing for those spots. The likes of Guillaume Dequaire and Oumar Gonzalez remain from last season. A key part of Chambly’s tactics are their wing backs. Losing Benjamin Santelli to SC Bastia is a blow, even if he did miss half of last season due to injury. Anthony Soubervie and Shaquil Delos along with Aniss El Hriti will be the main players for this role. This defence does contain some quality and they were surprisingly competitive at this level last season. When employed as a back five, Chambly were quite tough to break down, regularly annoying the opposition. I am not personally convinced defensive midfield is a strong area. Maxence Derrien appears to have taken up residence there these days but he was always more of a natural centre back or even right back.
Key player - Thibault Jaques (DC)
Youngster to watch - Shaquil Delos (Wing back)
FCC weren’t exactly free scorers last season, netting just 26 times in 28 games. Florian David was joint top scorer along with aforementioned centre back Thibault Jacques. David became more of a bench option towards the second half of last season and the re-signing of Joris Correa from Orleans was a smart move. He has some good all round qualities and scored 3 goals in 7 appearances before COVID stopped the league. Old dog Marvin Martin is still on the roster. The man who once had a market value of £10 million was injured a lot last season but maybe there is still some life left in his legs. Chambly have delved into Eastern Europe to sign a couple of wingers who I’ve never heard of, Nikola Petkovic and Luka Susnjara. I have no idea if these guys will succeed or not so only time will tell. Likewise, Nlatko Stojanovski on loan from Nimes could be hit or miss. Medhy Guezoui and Lassana Doucoure will be competing for minutes in attack as well. There often appears to be a rotation of players from week to week and Chambly rarely kept with the same lineup in midfield and attack. This isn’t a particularly dangerous looking attack and their style will probably mean a low scoring season again. But on the counter attack and from set pieces you have to be vigilant not to underestimate Chambly.
Key player - Joris Correa (ATT)
Coaching, other factors and conclusion
Chambly are a town situated just north of Paris and only have about 10,000 inhabitants. They resided in the National Division for 4 years before making the surprising step up to Ligue 2 level. They are managed by Bruno Luzi who is an absolute stalwart of the club. He played at Chambly for over 10 years and has been the manager since 2001! Quite simply, he lives and breathes the club and has FC Chambly in his veins. Luzi worked wonders to keep Chambly up last season. When COVID stopped the league they were as high as 10th place, aided mostly by an extremely solid start and an excellent February. He likes to employ a 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 formation and is generally quite cautious. Luzi has to be commended for getting the absolute most out of his squad but it will be a difficult job once again. Chambly are hindered by not playing at their own stadium. Instead, they will one again take up residence in Beauvais at Le Stade Pierre Brisson which is about 30 miles away. Neither Chambly or previously Red Star have played very well at this particular venue in recent seasons. They hope to return to their own stadium in January, which has been undergoing improvements the last 16 months. FCC had the lowest average attendance in the league last season at just over 2,000. The crowd restrictions won’t affect them at least and they proved last season with the 8th best away record that they can compete at this level. I personally see them in the relegation scrap down towards the bottom and maybe a touch of ‘second season syndrome’ might be a problem. Chambly will fight as hard as they can despite a limited budget and lack of overall quality. Despite all that it might not be enough to save them and it will be a close battle with the likes of Niort, and the newly promoted clubs who stays up.
Prediction:- 19th Relegation