GK & Defenders
Sochaux have a decent goalkeeping situation with Maxence Prevot as their first choice option. He had a solid previous campaign and is maybe one of the underrated keepers in Ligue 2 who goes under the radar. Prevot is only 24 years old so should get even better over the next few years. Medhi Jeannin is the perfect backup keeper to have. He can fill in for a few games if needed and do a decent job. The best defender at the club is centre back Florentin Pogba who is an absolute rock at the back. Partnering him could be new signing from Strasbourg Ismael Aaneba. Alternatively it could be veteran Christophe Diehiou or sometimes Joseph Lopy will drop down from midfield. Youngster Sidy Diagne could be one to watch and might get minutes should injuries and suspensions occur,. Abdallah N’Dour has locked down the left back spot and is a proven and reliable quality player at Ligue 2 level. Sochaux have reinforced by adding Valentin Henry from Rodez. He is a player I have always rated highly and should give them a dynamic option on the right hand side. Henry can play anywhere on that side of the field but is also versatile enough should they need him elsewhere. Sochaux lack a little bit of depth, especially in the fullback areas but at full strength this should continue to be a solid defence.
Key players - Florentin Pogba (CM), & Abdallah N’Dour (DL)
Joseph Lopy and Ousseynou Thioune are strong physical DMID options for Les Lionceaux. Lopy sometimes drops down to centre back but he’s at his most effective when shielding the back line and is an excellent tackler. Both of those players have great stamina and a fine match engine. I would say the best part of the Sochaux midfield is it’s creative strength though. Captain Gaetan Weissbeck can play pretty much anywhere in midfield or attack and scored 10 goals last season, also chipping in with 4 assists. I feel like he is at his best as a deep runner who gets into the final third, almost in a Segundo Volante type role. Rassoul N’Diaye, Younes Kaabouni and new signing from Lens Tony Mauricio are all creative playmaker options in the attacking part of midfield. This is an underrated midfield. There’s not really a stand out player apart from Weissbeck - and even he tends to go under the radar. But I see a good mix of versatile players and reasonable depth which will ensure they are highly competitive in this area of the field.
Key players - Joseph Lopy (DM), & Gaetan Weissbeck (CM)
Wingers & attackers
Sochaux have lost both Bryan Lasme & Chris Bedia who scored 9 goals each last season. Also Kalulu is a signing from Swiss side Basel and Les Lionceaux will hope that he can fill the void left upfront. Kalulu actually spent a whole season on loan at Sochaux a few years ago and did quite well. He will know the club so should be able to settle and lead the line. New additions in the final third are ex Tours winger Maxime Do Couto and from Lens Tony Mauricio. Without doubt, the player to keep an eye on is right winger Alan Virginius though. The exciting 18 year old is touted to have a fantastic future and Sochaux fans accept they won’t be able to keep him for very long. He might get sold either this January or at the end of the season if he lights up Ligue 2. It would be nice to see striker Yann Kitala contribute after suffering an horrific broken leg on the opening day of last season. He will supposedly take several months to get back to sharpness but having him return eventually will be like gaining a new player. Adama Niane & Steve Ambri are other options for Sochaux in the final third. I would say the big question mark is whether one of the strikers can consistently score goals. Maybe they need to bring in another frontman just for some extra depth as well. The loss of Bryan Soumare back to Dijon after an excellent loan spell is a shame but I think this Sochaux attack will go quite well. They have a lot of dynamic athletic players who should be good on the break and there’s always some young talent coming through the ranks.
Key players - Aldo Kalulu (ATT), & Alan Virginius (winger)
Coaching, other factors & conclusion
Omar Daf has been an excellent manager for Sochaux and he is approaching his 100th game in charge soon. Daf first took over when they were in a serious mess and his no-nonsense approach during his first full campaign was critical to get them to safety and then to a comfortable midtable spot. Last season Sochaux were locked in their own world in 7th place. They lost 4 of their last 5 games when it was clear little was left to play for. It was mostly home form which cost Les Lionceaux. They were excellent on the road and have generally had a great record on their travels under Daf in his 4-2-3-1 counter attacking system. Sochaux can be lethal on the break and I expect something similar again. This won’t be a high possession team but they do have some good technical players and shouldn’t be underestimated. I personally think Les Lionceaux are the biggest ‘dark horse’ in Ligue 2 this season. Nobody is really talking about them as a playoff contender but if things go well I think they could reach the top five. There’s a good mix of players and the first XI is actually now becoming quite strong. The manager has proved himself tactically and Sochaux are ready to take the next step. However, Les Lionceaux are going to need better luck with injuries and a few other things to fall their way if they are to make the playoffs. A more realistic position would probably be just outside them in 6th or 7th but I can definitely see Sochaux surprising a few teams by challenging higher this season.
Prediction: 5th - Playoff Challengers
Meatmansoccer predicted best XI and formation