US Créteil-Lusitanos: 2015/16 Ligue 2 Preview
Coach: Thierry Froger
Stadium: Stade Dominique Duvauchelle
Last Season: 18th in Ligue 2
Creteil actually have a couple of good goalkeepers they can call upon. Yann Kerboriou will start the campaign as no1 choice, but Cyrille Merville is more than capable of putting some pressure on him. Merville used to be real quality, but his standards have slipped in recent years. It has to be said Creteil have a ton of defensive options on their roster. They have a number of players for loads of different positions so they’ll have no problem if injuries or suspensions kick in. The Parisians could easily employ a five man defence if they wanted to, using wing backs. It’s hard to say who their best defender is. Herita Ilunga and Vincent Di Bartolomeo are probably the names people have heard of most, but new signings like Konongo and Herelle might play a part. The coach has the luxury of rotating and dropping players who are out of form, and due to their immense strength in depth this has to be classed as their best area.
They might have a wealth of options available to them at the back, but it’s au contraire in the middle of the park. Creteil have lost Ibrahima Seck and Cheikh N’Doye, both of whom have been mainstays in the team for a number of years. The former is a rock solid DMID at Ligue 2 level, whilst N’Doye’s 11 goals will be sorely missed. Both have such powerful builds that they will be extremely difficult to replace. As of yet, Creteil have done a terrible job doing this and they look extremely lightweight in the middle of the park. Guillaume Loriot has been signed from Orleans, but he’s more of a technical type player and only mediocre at best anyway. Les Belliers have very few other options in the middle. Mathieu Lafon and Rafael Dias are the only other genuine midfielders, neither of whom are particularly good. Unless they sign more players, then guys who are only secondary to this area like Florent Mollet will have to fill in. They look extremely lightweight, certainly in terms of physicality and lack of depth. This is an area Creteil will be exposed unless they sign a couple of new guys who are good.
They don’t lack for depth in the final third, although perhaps are short of a central striker who is going to bag them 15+ goals a season. A number of players will hope to be that man though – Andriatsima, Dabo, Clemence and Sangare. However, I honestly feel all of those players except for maybe new signing Clemence are better suited out wide. Creteil have some very good wingers in their ranks, and also some decent creative AMIDs like old stalwart Jean Michel Lesage. At 38 years of age he’s continuing for another season, and this bloke is quite simply a ligue 2 legend. Pace obviously isn’t his strong suit these days but he has great intelligence and can still offer something. On a good day this attack force is dangerous and has decent pace out wide but I just feel they lack a star man. It is possible someone might step up and develop though, so watch this space.
Creteil started last season very attack minded under Philippe Hinschberger. After he resigned they had an interim boss for nearly two months, before Thierry Froger took over at the start of January. They have since operated more defensively under him, although did open up more towards the end of the campaign. It felt like Creteil had no proper identity last year so maybe it’ll be different this time around. Froger is an experienced coach who knows all the tricks of the trade and is an asset. The Parisians never have much of a home advantage. They play at a morgue-like stadium and are rarely supported very well. Despite this, they only lost 3 times in front of their own fans last season. But I feel they are a team perhaps better setup for the road.
Creteil finished 14th last season and they will probably end up around the same spot again, maybe a little higher. They have one massive weak area in midfield which could let them down badly. I could see sides overpowering them in that department sometimes. But despite this, they have a ton of defensive options at their disposal and they also have some very good wide players – both in terms of wing backs and genuine attacking wingers. Could be a bit of an enigma team, difficult to predict and analyse.
Prediction – 13th