France Ligue 2 – Paris FC Season Preview 2020/21

Paris FC Defence

Vincent De Marconnay remains the #1 keeper although he has stated this might be his last season before retirement. He was one of the standout goalkeepers two years ago but was more shaky during the 2019/20 campaign, even losing his place in the team to backup Anthony Maisonnial around the autumn. De Marconnay is no spring chicken at 37 years old but Paris FC should still get a decent campaign out of him. The whole backline has been completely re-jigged with only centre backs Ousmane Kante or Axel Bamba likely to retain their spot in the lineup. Paris FC have signed Youssoupha NDiaye from National side Lyon Duchere and he looks like a powerful beast, also capable of playing in defensive midfield. PFC have dramatically improved their fullback situation by adding Florent Hanin and Gaetan Belaud. The former is a bit of a journeyman who has played for numerous clubs but he should bring obvious qualities. Belaud meanwhile, comes in from Brest where Ligue 1 football was probably becoming too much for him, but at this level he can still be a stud. Defensive midfield now looks like a much more promising area with Cyril Mandouki, new signing Moustapha Name and the aforementioned NDiaye all good strong physical options.

Key players - Gaetan Belaud (DR), Youssoupha NDiaye (DC)

Youngster to watch - Ousmane Camara (DC)

Paris FC Offense

Only rock bottom Orleans scored less goals than Paris FC last season and they’ve lost their top scorer, target man Romain Armand who has moved to Pau. Gaetan Laura comes in from National Division side Quevilly-Rouen and so far he looks very useful with 2 goals in 2 games. Laura appears to be a decent all round type of ‘complete forward’ who has a lot of dimensions to his game. Paris FC certainly have playmaking ability in the form of veterans Lalaina Nomenjanahary, Jonathan Pitroipa & Florian Martin. Both are technically excellent players and Martin can be lethal from set pieces. PFC have signed Marvin Gakpa from Ligue 1 side Metz and he looks to be an excellent addition, someone who can play pretty much everywhere in midfield and attack. In Lamine Diaby Fadiga they have a fine young talent and he was a good signing following his controversy at Nice. Striker Morgan Guilavogui is another addition from the National (3rd) division. Paris FC really raided that third tier this summer and Said Arab comes in from cross city rivals Red Star. He has been operating as a midfield playmaker so far but can play out wide as well. Paris FC have gradually been improving the offensive strength and depth of their squad over the last 18 months. Now that they finally have a manager who will get the most out of this talent then the Parisians should be a dangerous side in the final third.

Key players - Gaetan Laura (ATT), Jonathan Pitroipa (Winger)

Youngster to watch - Lamine Diaby Fadiga (ATT)

Coaching, other factors & conclusion

Mecha Bazdarevic led Paris FC to an excellent fourth place during the 2018/19 campaign, but was sacked mid way through last season after a shocking run of results. The problem was that Paris FC lost its defensive core which served them so well and Bazdarevic was never the right sort of man to get enough out of their attacking players. Paris FC acted accordingly though and brought in ex Montpellier and Lille coach Rene Girard. Famous for winning an improbable Ligue 1 title with Montpellier back in 2012, Girard brings with him a wealth of experience and an aura of class. He effectively led them to safety and winning 5 of their last 7 games was crucial just before the league was stopped because of COVID. Paris FC have a top class coach in Girard and they have been backing him in the transfer market. I like some of the moves they have made, trying to raid the next tier for the best talent in addition to also signing some proven experience. The crowd restrictions will probably help rather than hinder this club who play their games at Le Stade Charlety which is rarely more than 3,000 full anyway. This is a team not to be underestimated and an ambitious club who want to be up there fighting for promotion. With good all round strength I think we can expect Paris FC to be in the mixer for at least the playoffs. Perhaps the only concern is the high turnover of players but they have started the season well with 2 wins out of 2 and it feels like this group of players have already gelled together nicely.

Prediction:- 4th Playoff/Promotion contender