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France Ligue 2 – Amiens Season Preview 2016/17

AMIENS SP

Amiens defence

The northern outfit had one of the best defences in the National Division last season but at Ligue 2 level it may well struggle. Starting in goal, Regis Gurtner is the #1 custodian. He had one past season when he was the main choice for a team at this level, but he’s effectively a failed GK in Ligue 2, so the jury remains out. I don’t see him being very good, but he’s probably going to be forced into making a number of saves. The backline doesn’t look particularly strong to me, filled with inexperienced players or older guys like left back Julian Ielsch who is basically finished at this level of football. Centre back options include Khaled Adenon, who looks the best of a poor bunch. Mathieu Fontaine was his partner last season but could miss some time because of recent kidney surgery. Amiens appear to have an abundance of left back,s with four players all capable in this role! But they have a strange lack of right backs and this looks set to be a problem position.

Defensive midfield looks better for them at least. They’ll be spearheaded by new signing from Angers Gu N’Gosso who should still have plenty to offer at this level. He’s strong physically and will be hard to break down. Alongside him, Thomas Monconduit is the captain and is one of their few players with proven experience and good performances in Ligue 2. He used to be with Auxerre and should be one of their best players this season. Other options include Guessouma Fofana, Oualid el Hajam & Joachim Eickmayer. Neither are particularly good but do at least add to depth. I expect the two holding midfielders to be quite busy this year because the backline itself might struggle to adapt to Ligue 2 level and concede a number of goals.

Key players: Guy N’Gosso (DM), Thomas Monconduit (DM)

Amiens offense

ASC weren't the greatest scoring team last season and leading marksman was right winger Jonathan Tinhan with 12 goals to his name. This player is highly interesting to me because I remember when he played for Montpellier a few times, he caught my eye. Things didn't work out and he’s had to move down to the third tier of French football to rebuild his career. He could go well for Amiens this season and possesses fast pace and good skills on the wings. Clearly, he has improved his finishing as well. Apart from Tinhan though, it doesn’t look like they have an awful lot else. On the opposite wing, Quentin Cornette comes in from Montpellier and he might be a pleasant surprise. The rest of the team is made up of inexperienced players or guys who have previously failed at this level. Emmanuel Bourgaud will probably be their leading playmaker centrally and might go ok. New signing from CFA side Poissy; Yannick Mamilonne might also be worth watching. He scored 18 goals in 21 appearances last season, but stepping up a full two divisions might prove to be too much for him. Of course, ASC are going to be capable of having good days. But as long as opposition defences keep Tinhan quiet, then Amiens won’t strike much fear into anyone.

Key players: Jonathan Tinhan (RW), Emmanuel Bourgaud (AM)

Coaching, other factors & conclusion

In charge is Christophe Pelissier, who is going to be one of their biggest weapons if they’re to survive this season. I am pleased that Pelissier now has the chance to manage in Ligue 2 because he cruelly had the opportunity taken away from him two years ago. He was involved in the controversial and awful Luzenac story, a town with only 650 inhabitants. Involved with the club for seven years, he sensationally led the club to promotion against all the odds. The authorities denied them ascension though and even worse, they had to rebuild life as low as the seventh division,. It’s one of the big injustices of French football so I’m pleased Pelissier now gets his chance. He’s obviously a very strong motivator and extremely strong mentally. He has come through a lot to get here and I’m sure he’ll get his players to fight really hard. On paper the team looks weakest in the division, But Pelissier is used to defying the odds and working with a shoe-string budget. I don’t personally think Amiens will avoid relegation, but with 18th place now concluding with a relegation playoff against 3rd placed team from the National ligue, there’s half a chance they could reach that spot. I expect a committed team which ultimately lacks quality at this level. The last time they were in this division was four years ago and they finished rock bottom. Something similar could happen again and it feels to me like this team wasn’t ready for promotion.I don’t think they’ll survive, but I said that about GFC Ajaccio a couple of years ago and look what happened!

Prediction: 20th

 

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