Red Star defence
Goalkeeper was a problematic position for Red Star last season but they look to have rectified it by signing Nicolas Douchez. The ex Lens man was embroiled in all sorts of controversy last season, mostly off the field matters. In a drunken night of rage he allegedly beat up his girlfriend and in turn wasn’t seen on the field for the rest of the year. Douchez is now 38, but still might have another couple of years in him at this level. His experience should be invaluable anyway. Paul Charruau and Sebastian Renot back him up and neither is particularly good. The defence has been bolstered by adding left back Edson Seidou from Orleans. He’s nothing special but can do an ok job. Probably the two key players in the backline for Red Star will be Mathieu Fontaine and Formose Mendy. Maxence Derrien and Matias Ferreira are options as well. There is a sprinkling of quality at the back and a decent physical presence. Red Star shouldn’t be terrible defensively but there will be plenty of days when they get picked apart as well. Probably the best technical player in the whole squad is Samba Diakite. The Malian international who has been capped 9 times by his country was once so highly sought after that in 2012 QPR, who at that time were a Premier League side in England paid over £3m for his services. For some reason his career didn’t just dip, it totally nose-dived during his time at the troubled London club and he now finds himself at Red Star. Diakite could be quality at this level if in the mood. It looks like there is a decent amount of defensive midfielders at the club with Teddy Teuma and Gregoire Lefebvre solid enough options.
Key players - Samba Diakite (DM), Teddy Teuma (DM)
Red Star offense
Nearly a third of Red Star’s 41 goal tally was scored by Abdoulaye Sane, but he’s now left the club to Sochaux. Filling his boots switching in the other direction is Moussa Sao who should do an ok job, but he did regress last season. The other striker options that Red Star have aren’t very good though with the likes of Baradji, Toudic or new signing Donisa hardly making defenders quake in their boots. On a more positive note, a couple of new additions will strengthen the creative midfield aspect for Red Star. Gregory Berthier from Reims and Emmanuel Bourgaud from Amiens step down from Ligue 1 and should be able to improve the offense. Both can play anywhere centrally or out wide. There’s not an awful lot else to write home about though with perhaps Idriss Mhirsi the only other standout player in attack for the Parisian outfit. They have some options but I don’t think they are going to light up the league with their goalscoring and it could be a struggle.
Key players - Moussa Sao (ATT), Gregory Berthier (AM)
Coaching, other factors & conclusion
Regis Brouard is head coach and so far during his time at Red Star he can’t be criticised The former Clermont and Niort boss has been in charge for once season and led them to the National Division title - an immediate return after relegation from Ligue 2. Brouard has plenty of experience at Ligue 2 level, but he has never been particularly impressive as a manager in my opinion. The best part about him is usually his immaculate dresswear! I tend to find that his teams are far too negative and don't score enough goals. The main priority is always to keep things tight and fans often get too bored. Ultimately, this negativity led to his dismissal at both Clermont and Niort. If something like that happened again I wouldn't be too surprised. On paper, the strongest part of Red Star is in defensive areas so this ties in with the philosophies of the coach. One massive problem the Parisian outfit are going to have to negotiate is home matches. Once again, their own stadium isn't deemed fit enough for Ligue 2 purpose, so they are going to have to travel all the way to Beauvais, which is 70km from Paris. It's effectively like playing at a neutral venue every other week and sure to be a disadvantage. I think Red Star are going to be one of those teams in the relegation battle. Maybe they can survive or reach the playoff match but I suspect it will be a struggling campaign overall.
Prediction: Relegation battle