Red Star FC: 2015/16 Ligue 2 Preview
Coach: Rui Almeida
Stadium: Stade Pierre Brisson
Last Season: Champions of National
Red Star actually have a couple of proven keepers at Ligue 2 level. In fact, the no1 starter Vincent Plante even has a number of Ligue 1 matches under his belt. They should be well set in between the sticks with ex-Laval man Arnaud Balijon backing him up. The backline also contains players who know what it’s like at this level. Remi Fournier was a solid rock at Chateauroux for many years, whilst new signing Lloyd Palun has been playing in Ligue 1 for Nice in recent campaigns. Left back Remy Amieux has arrived from Dutch club NAC Breda and on paper their defence seems reasonable enough. Red Star won’t be special here but I like the fact they added wisely so could be competent.
Florian Makhedjouf and Naim Sliti look set to be regular starters for them in midfield. Both are unproven at this level, but relatively young so it’s possible they could make the step up. Red Star have signed a couple of interesting additions. Ex-Auxerre man Yan Boe Kane is capable of producing some good performances, albeit is inconsistent. Younes Kaabouni meanwhile, on loan from Bordeaux, should in theory go really well in this division. As long as he is motivated and ‘up for it’ I’m expecting some very good things from the young starlet. Of course, Red Star don’t have the elite levels in midfield compared to some teams, but they could hold their own at times.
Last season they were spearheaded by Kevin Lefaix who netted 21 goals. Lefaix is a proven goalscorer at National Division level but has surprisingly never encountered football higher than this. He’s 33 years old now, so I doubt very much if he’ll be able to even get near 10 goals this term. If he was any good I’m sure we’d have seen him make the move to Ligue 2 in the past. So they can’t rely on his goals, instead they might look towards David Bellion. But he’s another ageing player who has really regressed in recent years. Two new signings from Tours should go well on the wings – Chevalerin and Diaz, whilst fellow wide man Hameur Bouazza might go alright. Red Star look to be seriously lacking proven striker quality. It seems they are relying on Lefaix to go well, but he needs some support up there from an experienced Ligue 2 performer.
Sebastien Robert won the National Division with them last season but he’s now moved upstairs into a technical director role. The new coach is Rui Almeida, someone who not an awful lot is known about. His last role was assistant coach at Egyptian club Zamalek. It’s difficult to know what sort of tactics and style he’ll produce so it’s probably best just to watch their matches in the early stages to get a proper judge of his managerial ability. Red Star had the best home record in the National last year finishing 12-4-1. Unfortunately, their stadium doesn’t fit Ligue 2 requirements though, so most of their home games will be played in Beauvais, roughly 50 or 60 miles away. This isn’t ideal, although these is also some talk that some of their games might be hosted in other Parisian stadiums.
Red Star look to have a squad that has a chance of surviving. If they were playing home games at their own stadium then I’d be more confident in their ability to stay up, but I still think they might just have enough to avoid the drop. However, of course it won’t be easy and they are sure to be one of the teams involved in the relegation dogfight. Lack of goals might be an issue and they are sure to have a few teething problems at this level. But Red Star will give it their best shot and should at least be a competitive outfit.
Prediction – 17th