France Ligue 2 – Grenoble Season Preview 2020/21

Grenoble Defence

Brice Mableu is a decent enough keeper at this level and a good dressing room leader. Backing him up is Esteban Salles who is promoted from the #3 role last season. The backline has lost a couple of regular starters in Pierre Gibaud and Eric Vandenabeele. Gibaud was especially versatile and capable of playing anywhere in defence. Grenoble will still have a strong centre back pairing in Loic Nestor & Adrien Monfray. The big problem is that Nestor is very injury prone and can’t be relied upon to stay fit. Jerome Mombris is a quality full back option who will primarily be the starter on the left hand side. Grenoble have added some much needed youth to the defence by signing ex Monaco man Jordy Gaspar who they’ll hope to solve their right back issues. Harouna Abou Demba would be an asset for this position if he ever returns to full fitness. He missed the entire 2019/20 season due to injury but should be back to compete for minutes this year. Centre back Bart Straalman is a new addition from relegated side Orleans and adds to the depth chart. There are backup players like Abdel Hakim Abdallah and Chris Goteni who should do a serviceable job. Defensive midfield has been bolstered by adding Kevin Tapoko from Isreali club Hapoel Beer Sheva. He looks a huge unit at 197cm (6ft 5”) tall. Charles Pickel and Florian Michel are other options here. On paper Grenoble appear to have the basis of a good defence if they can keep key players fit.

Key players - Adrien Monfray (DC), Jerome Mombris (DL)

Grenoble Offense

Scoring goals was definitely an achilles heel for Grenoble, netting just 27 times in 28 games last season. Leading the line was Moussa Djitte who top scored for them with 7 goals. I am quite a big fan of Djitte who often caught the eye but more is probably needed from him, or at least better service is required. Grenoble have signed Achille Anani from National division (3rd tier) side Bourg-en-Bresse. He scored 16 times last season and looks like a solid addition. They’ve lost the likes of Arsene Elogo, Jonathan Tinhan and Florian Raspentino who probably didn’t offer enough output. Ex player Yoric Ravet has been signed from Freiburg and should bring with him plenty of experience, technique and quality. Ravet can play anywhere in the final third and could be given a free role. They need to hope Jessy Benet is more consistent as a central playmaker and that quicker players like Willy Semedo and Terell Ondaan have a better end product this season. The potential is there for Grenoble to be more of a threat this season but question marks will certainly remain until they prove that on the field.

Key players - Yoic Ravet (Playmaker), Moussa Djitte (ATT)

Coaching, other factors & conclusion

Philippe Hinchsberger is in charge for his 3rd season at the club. I am not his biggest fan and at times I think he lacks the tactical acumen for any ambitious team. Hinchsberger did once get Metz promoted out of this league and is vastly experienced, but I really have to question his tactics and man management sometimes. If Grenoble are happy to meander around midtable then he is perfectly fine for the role but if they want to become more ambitious the club should look at hiring someone else in future. Grenoble have a decent enough squad which on their day can probably cause problems to anyone. But lack of extra quality and depth will probably cost them any sort of shot at the playoffs. Injuries always seem to hamper them badly, it’s happened both of the last two seasons. They need to convert more draws into wins and score more goals to move to the next level. I see them finishing in a comfortable midtable position, too good to get sucked into any trouble but lacking too much in order to playoff challenge.

Prediction:- 10th Midtable