Nimes Olympique: 2015/16 Ligue 2 Preview
Coach: Jose Pasqualetti
Stadium: Stade Des Costiéres
Last Season: 13th in Ligue 2
Young custodian Mathieu Michel actually had a fairly good season last year and looks set to have a promising future. He should do a fairly good job for them in between the sticks. Nimes’ best defender is Fethi Harek, someone who has plenty of ligue 1 experience. Behind him, they don’t have a whole lot of quality options, but do have tons of depth. The likes of Barillon, Elie, Martin, Valls and Cordovalk will all move in and out of form. So the good thing is they can just rest and rotate when this happens, giving themselves plenty of alternatives. Left back is perhaps the most concerning position because Valls lacks experience, but he might develop. Most of the backline has good pace although is known to make individual errors. They will have some solid days but also a few shocking ones.
This is a midfield that lacks physical strength although does have some reasonable technical players. The likes of Parpeix, Omrani and Kovacevic have now departed, which means the holding role will be filled by either Larry Azouni or Anthony Briancon. Les Crocos have signed two new players here, Florian Fabre and Remy Sergio. Fabre didn’t get too much of a run with GFCA last year, although has reportedly impressed during pre-season. Sergio has come from the lower ligues and not an awful lot is known about him, except he’s good technically. Jonathan Lacourt is another who has great skill, but the problem with him is fitness and injuries. Nimes look a little lightweight in the middle and could do with adding a strong DMID, but they have some guys here who can pass it well.
Les Crocos have lost Riad Nouri who actually had a good past season, weighing in with 9 goals and 6 assists. The legendary Toifilou Malouida was their top scorer, netting 11 times. But he’s 36 now so time isn’t on his side. Nevertheless, for his age he still has some pace and he might be one of those ageing strikers who can go on for a few more years yet. Nimes have a few interesting players in the final third, not least the pacey Anthony Koura who impressed at times last year. Often used on the left wing, he can also play as a striker. Of course, if he regains fitness then Ousmane Cissokho would be a huge asset for them. A long suspension then nightmare injury problem ensured last season was one to forget for him. But when in the right mood and in form he could be one of the best players in the whole division. Two new signings on the wings are Nasser Chamed and Fabien Tchenkoua. The former comes from Chateauroux and is a skillful winger, whilst the latter arrives following a strong campaign with lower ligue Grenoble. I think they lack a proven quality striker but this attack should still go well enough. If Cissokho can get back to his best then it could surprise a few people.
Jose Pasqualetti never used to impress me as a manager but he’s really improved in recent times. Last year he did really well to keep this team going considering all the off field issues. The ex Istres boss used to be known for his gung-ho style attacking play which left his defences exposed. But in recent years he’s become more balanced with tactics, knowing what games to attack and which ones to play tighter in. Vastly experienced at Ligue 2 level, for the first time I think he’s a coach who adds value to a club.
Nimes will be starting the season with a 8-point deduction. This was their punishment from the match fixing scandal a couple of years ago. They were lucky to avoid automatic relegation for it and are still appealing this 8-point penalty. It could get reduced, but either way they will be starting the season from a chasing position which won’t be easy. Nimes are known for having a strong home record and usually play well in front of their passionate fans.
Starting on minus eight points won’t be easy but if they work together as a team it could be the sort of thing which binds everyone together. Nimes could have enough to avoid relegation, even with this penalty. They are lacking a little in midfield but overall have fairly decent strength all over the field. This is a team with a deep squad too, and should they accumulate a lot of injuries and suspensions they’ll manage better than most clubs. As always with a Jose Pasqualetti side, they are likely to be fairly inconsistent. The sort of team who can win or lose to anyone on the day. It’s likely Les Crocos will play a relatively open style and be one of the higher scoring teams in the ligue. Ultimately the 8-point penalty might prove fatal though.
Prediction – 18th