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SM Caen - First step to glory

Started on 16 June 2014 by AlexSonwild
Latest Reply on 24 June 2014 by AlexSonwild
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Stade Malherbe de Caen appoint Raphaël Scott as manager

Caen have appointed former Toulouse and Lorient striker Raphaël Scott as manager.

The 35-year-old has succeeded Patrice Garande, who has only spend one year at the club, failing to gain promotion back to Ligue 1.

Scott completed is coaching course two months ago, and had previously worked in Caen’s youth academy.

The former striker, who played for Rouen, Lorient, Toulouse, Montpellier and Chateauroux, was forced to retire four years ago when he picked up a knee injury with his new club, Ajaccio.

SM Caen’s chairman Jean-François Fortin has asked Scott to promote back the club to Ligue 1 within two seasons. However he declared Scott won't be allowed to buy players this summer because of the club insecure finances.

July: Preseason

My first month at the club has been perfect. We won all our friendlies, and the players amassed confidence during the last game which was an impressive 8-0 against Pacy.
During this game I had lined-up the best players through the pre-season and with this final performance they proved that they should all be starter for the upcoming season.

My man of the match against Pacy was striker Matthias Autret who did not score but managed no less than five assists.
Autret is on loan from Lorient and has enjoyed a great preseason. He will start our first league game against Dijon but this time he will be on the left wing, his best position.

I use a 4-4-2 formation and against Dijon the stikers will be Mathieu Duhamel and Fodé Koyta.
Duhamel scored five times in five games this summer and was Caen’s top goalscorer last season by finding the back of the net thirteen times.
Fodé Koita has had less success when coming to goals but has delivered three assist in four apparitions and proved a great header ability.
Another option we have up-front is nineteen year old Cristophe Aurier who I signed on a free transfer.

Seven other players joined the club, all as free transfers and most of them being youngsters. The two exceptions are former Marseille defender Leyti N’Diaye, and former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Ronan Le Crom.

Le Crom will compete with Damien Perquis for the starting spot following the departure of Thomas Bosmel, joining Ligue 1’s Ajaccio.

Our first competitive back four will include from right to left Jean Calvé, N’Diaye, Felipe Saad and Aurélien Montaroup.

Saad has been our best player so far and will have to confirm in his club official debut.
If I had to choose a fifth defender it would be twenty-seven year old Alexandre Raineau, who’s faithful to the club since 2003. Raineau is a natural left back but he can play on all the left side as well as a defensive midfielder and a central midfielder and he has been regular throughout the preseason.

Coming to midfield: Fayçal Fajr, José Saez, Lenny Nangis will play alongside Autret. These players form an interesting mix.

Twenty-five year old Fajr is the most talented and the most dangerous with ball. He can create an occasion from nothing thanks to his technique and control.

Saez is more experienced. The thirty-one year old is not the player he used to be and that is why he moved to Caen in Ligue 2. He previously spend seven years in Ligue 1 with Valenciennes and he has some of the best mental attributes in the squad. That’s also why I named him vice-captain.

Finally Leeny Nangis is only nineteen but has already shown his great ability and even greater potential. During the preseason he played more than any other players and has been rewarded by five goals and four assists. He mostly played on the right side but he can move on the other wing, at the center and even upfront.

If I played with a defensive midfielder I would have Nicolas Seube in my line-up. Now thirty-three years old he is the most faithful player in our squad, having joined from Toulouse in 2002. And he has been a first-team key player since.

Seube’s 372 appearances is a club record and he will surely extend it this season.
Ngolo Kanté should also get a few starts this season, his first as a professional. The twenty-two year old surely has talent and he will be a good alternative in center midfield.

Finally South Korean Kim Kyung-Jung will be more than an alternative as a winger. He his spending a second season on loan here and his preseason has been damaged by an injury. However he scored and delivered an assist in the only game he played.

Our second game of the season will be the League Cup first round. We have been drawn against Créteil and if we pass we shall play the winner of the confratation between Laval and Brest.

It’s all for this month. Next update will probably cover August and September! Comment on whatever aspect of the story you want ;)
Very nice start. A great pre-season and some good signings!
2014-06-17 20:51#180425 Josh_MU : Very nice start. A great pre-season and some good signings!

Thanks m8! :)

August: Goals!

After one month and seven games we are fifth in the league which is satisfying. However I’m disappointed with the last week when the team dynamic broke up, leading to a cup elimination and a shocking home defeat against fellow promotion contenders: Metz.

The season started with a solid win against Dijon. Duhamel, the club's top scorer last season, got the only goal whilst new signing N’Diaye won the man of the match award.

On the next day we finalized the signing of a new player on a free transfer. Following former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Le Crom and former Marseille defender N’Diaye it’s former Lyon player Jean-Alain Boumsong who joined our squad.
The thirty-three year old defender has not played much since joining and he picked up an injury on his first start.

He took part to the second game of the season by coming on at half time. It was the League Cup first round and we were already leading 3-0 against Créteil. Agouazi opened the scoring with a magnificent free-kick after six minutes and nineteen year old Cristophe Aurier celebrated his first professional appearance with a hat-trick.

Aurier carried his form in the following game against Laval by scoring after three minutes. Laval’s key player Adrien Regattin leveled up before half-time, concluding a superb counter-attack.
At the 74th minute Duhamel scored what we hoped to be the winner but ten minutes later Bansais found the back of the net by scoring what will be remembered as a goal of the season.
It was a good performance for our first away game of the season, so I was not to disappointed that we didn’t hang on the three points.

Then came our second game against Créteil in ten days. The “Béliers” wanted to get revenge following the League Cup defeat but we delivered a superb performance and once again managed to score four goals.
Duhamel opened the score on a penalty, his third goal in three appearances. Just before half-time Saad manage to beat N’Doye on a corner.
Créteil did not give up and scored quickly after the break. They pilled on pressure on our defense for a long time but in the last ten minutes it was us who concluded the game with a brace by Saez.

We extended our unbeaten run to five games by beating Troyes 2-1. They never were a dangerous opposition.
Nothing could trouble us after Duhamel scored his second goal of the game and fifth of the season with half an hour to play. Not even Ben Khalfallah’s goal, which was their second and last strike on target.

We were much more troubled away at Brest, where a fully rotated team suffered an humiliating 4-1 defeat.
We were lucky to be 1-1 at half-time, not only because of our poor display but also because we had two players playing injured and another one who had to be subbed after eight minutes.
In fact our goal was scored by the player who came on: Molla Wagué.

Wagué finally proved to be our best player on the pitch even though he committed a foul leading to a penalty at the end of the game.
We were already 3-1 down so it did not have any consequences on the outcome of the game. We were out of the cup.
Naturally I was unhappy, but because it was a B team which played I did not take too much importance of the performances.

It was following the next game that I turned furious.
Metz visited us knowing that they would overtake us with a win. And they perfectly prepared their game.
Us, we were completely disorganized and not a player stands out with a fairly good performance.

They were all poor. Duhamel only managed to get one shoot, which was not on target.
He can partly blame the midfielders for not providing any quality passes in the last third.
The defense and the goalkeeper have been no match for Metz attack.
Diafra Sakho scored a hat-trick and humiliated N’Diaye and Le Crom on the last goal of the game, summing up our performance.

Next month we will play four games, finishing with the derby of Normandy against our rivals: Le Havre.

Feel free to comment on whatever aspect of the story you want, feedback is welcome!
AlexSonwild's avatar Group AlexSonwild
9 yearsEdited

September and October

We only won three of our last seven games, the form is poor and we have to face a horrendous amount of injuries. All that’s bad, but we are far from being ruled out of the promotion battle. Indeed third placed Troyes are only three points ahead of us.

However if we want to keep any chance going up we will have to start winning again and for that we have to improve our finishing as well as control of the midfield.
During the past two months I did not have much concern with our defense. The lack of quality at building chances was more worrying.

For our first game of September I was expecting a reaction following the two consecutive defeats to Brest and Metz. We did not play exceptionally well away at Arles-Avignon, but we got the essential. A 2-0 win and three points.

We were more convincing the next week against Niort. They managed to keep the game tight until half-time but we finally won 3-1.

We then had a frustrating game against Clermont. We had most of the possession but were unable to create danger in the last third. And we were eventually punished by a Thibaut Moulin clean finish.

It was then the big game. The one every fan wants to win. The derby of Normandy against Le Havre. We won 1-0, thanks to an outstanding performance by our goalkeeper Le Crom. Duhamel scored on our only chance of the second half.

Nonetheless it looked like we would build up on this game and win against Nimes. We scored two times in the twenty first minutes and until the last five minutes it was a fairly good performance.
But in less than three minutes it became a nightmare as they scored two to level up.

The two matches that followed were horrible to watch as we were completely useless with the ball. The team moral dropped, and a player started complaining because I finned him two week after he received his second red card in ten games.

However I have a positive point to make. Lenny Nangis is back at training. He has been out for ten weeks and I never found any constant solution to replace him on the right wing.
Other players will come back during November including striker Odika, defender Boumsong and midfielder Saez and it will hopefully help the team getting back to winning ways.

It’s all for this month. Next update will probably cover November and December! Comment on whatever aspect of the story you want ;)
Very nice start to the story buddy, shame the results haven't been the best recently but I'm sure they will pick up soon when your players return from injury!
2014-06-21 15:36#180943 pompeyblue : Very nice start to the story buddy, shame the results haven't been the best recently but I'm sure they will pick up soon when your players return from injury!

Thanks mate! :)
AlexSonwild's avatar Group AlexSonwild
9 yearsEdited

November and December

I wanted my team to play much better in order to maintain our promotion chances. They did exactly that by winning six league games in a row, which brought us as high as top of the league.
We have been so good throughout the two past months that I can’t complain with our disappointing French Cup elimination.

As expected Nangis coming back from injury would be decisive. Unfortunately, after two starts, four goals and December's Player of the Month award he was ruled out for another month.
Naturally other players have helped the team superb form, such as Molla Wagué who won November’s Ligue 2 Player of the Month, Jean Calvé who finished runner up or Mathieu Duhamel who’s now joint top goal scorer of the league.

Our defense has been mostly reliable but we constantly had problems in the last twenty minutes or so.
Meanwhile we really have improved in the area which was problematic previously. Indeed we are creating much more. I did not changed my tactic: 4-1-4-1, but many players have been moved in different positions.
Montaroup left his left back position to become a left winger. The former left winger Autret went on the right side. Seube, so far a defensive midfielder, was moved up with a much more creative role. The defensive role was filled up by former central defender N’Diaye.
Each of these changes have worked and given a new dimension to the team, with maybe the exception of Autret but he leaves his place to Nangis the rare times he’s fit.

Before explaining the games, I need to mention one last aspect of our game which impressed me. Set pieces.
In my four years playing Football Manager, never I had a team creating so much danger from corners and free-kicks. In the two first league games of November, Jean Calvé provided four goals from set pieces. He then picked up an injury (again!), so I thought we would not be as dangerous during the following matches.
But my players proved me wrong. Montaroup and Fajr have continued providing quality passes from dead-ball situations.

The Games

R.C. Lens 1-3 S.M. Caen

The game started perfectly, Wagué scroring inside two minutes.
The goal came from a superb Calvé corner. Fajr then scored his first goal of the season shortly before Guillaume pulled on back. In the second half Fajr got his second from the penalty spot.
This was the first game we played with the new positions I had determined for some players. Seube and Montaroup were particularly impressive.

S.M. Caen 5-1 Istres O.P

This was an incredible performance, and Le Crom will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet after misjudging Diarra’s shot deep in extra-time.
Duhamel scored first after ten minutes. Defender Wagué then got an assist with a clever flick to N’Diaye on a Calvé corner, and after half-time he himself scored with a superb volley on a free-kick taken by Calvé.
Wagué did not win the Goal of the Month (he should have) but he got the player of the match award.
Mara, his central defense partner also got a goal, heading in a corner by…Calvé.
Previously Duhamel had scored his second of the game.

S.M. Caen 0-3 Nîmes

To go out of League Cup after two rounds was disappointing. To be humiliated and kicked out of the French Cup after a game was even worst.
The team already had played Nîmes in league. The game, after an 80 minutes good performance, had finished as a heart-breaking draw where we lost our 2-0 lead in the last five minutes.

This time we were not even close to winning. They dominated from the start and had the best occasions. In fact our only very dangerous attack came at the 28th minute and was messed up by Kim Kyung-Jung’s finish. Could have changed everything but we were punished five minutes later when Granic scored the first goal of his hat-trick.
This game, like the League Cup defeat against Brest (1-4), highlighted the poor quality of our squad depth. But it allowed two of our players to make their comeback after long term injuries. Lenny Nangis, who had not played since the game against Brest in August, started on the right wing. And José Saez came in at half-time, his first appearance in more than a month.

A.J. Auxerre 0-4 S.M. Caen

I was worried that the 3-0 defeat would engage another poor run, but instead we had a great reaction. In fact, it was the first in two months we avoided conceding a goal.
Duhamel continued his impressive season by scoring his 10th goal, after only two minutes. The first half finished 1-0, I warned my players not to get complacent, as they had done on a few occasions this season.
But there the team seems stronger than ever and Auxerre did not stand a chance. The second half started with a header by Jean-Jacques Pierre, who will thank Jean Calvé for his superb corner (again!).
Matthias Autret then had to go out because of an injury (again!). But before the substitution he managed to get a goal on a superb assist by Seube.
I need to point out Seube’s quality. He is 34 year old, has spend more than ten seasons at the club and he is still getting better. Every touch of the ball he makes is perfect. And he does not make a lot because he usually passes the ball very quickly and most of the time it’s from him that the danger starts.
Finally Kim Jung-Yung scored two minutes after coming in. The assist and the previous pass were also provided by subs: respectively Kodjia and Nangis.

S.M. Caen 2-1 Angers

Angers were without any doubt disappointed not to have got a point from this game.
The two sides neutralized each other until the end of the first half and a red card given to Romain Thomas. We immediately took advantage of it and just before the break N’Diaye got his second goal of the season, heading in a corner by Fajr.
Even though they were playing with one man down Angers stayed dangerous and we didn’t relax until the 70th minute and a superb strike by Ngolo Kanté.
Kanté had had quite a difficult season so far, and earlier this month he was surprised to get his first cap for Mali. But it certainly gave him the confidence he lacked because he followed up this performance by great display in December.
Angers scored five minutes after, but unfortunately for them they did not manage to convert their chances to equalize.

C.S Bastia 2-4 S.M. Caen

Lenny Nangis. Nineteen years old. Great pre-season.
16th August: Torn hamstring. 2nd November: Resumes full training.
13th December: First League start in four months.
11th minute: scores. 36th minute: scores. 63rd minute: Comes out because of a slight injury.
Full Time: Wins Man of the Match award. (Duhamel also scored a brace and with 12 goals he joins Marcos and Bakambu as top scorers of the league.)

S.M. Caen 3-1 Brest

Let’s start with Lenny Nangis: The injury he picked up against Bastia did not rule him out for this game. However I hesitated in keeping him in the starting eleven because I was quite unsure he could manage another very high level performance as he did the previous week.
I believed in his talent, but he had only started a league game and a cup game in four months. And I must admit I was quite scared of this Brest team, who eliminated us of the League Cup at the beginning of the season.
And Brest, who in fact are struggling in mid-table, seemed ready to reproduce the display from our first confrontation. Jonathan Ayité gave them the lead after 11 minutes. We were not able to create any danger until the twentieth minute and great pass from Duhamel for Nangis.
Nangis hit the ball without any control to level up. From then we were untouchable. Two minutes later fantastic captain Nicolas Seube scored a great effort from long range. The assist was provided by Nangis.
And as Nangis decided he wanted to be voted Player of the Match for the second game running, he ensured it by lobbing the goalkeeper, getting his second goal and securing the three points as well as the league's top spot for the club.
He would probably have done even more if he had not been forced to leave the pitch at the 83rd minute. This time a pulled hamstring will keep him out for a month.

It’s not too harsh as we won’t have any official game for the upcoming weeks, thanks to the winter break.
I organized two friendlies. On 2nd January we will play against Swindon, and on 5th January against Rouen. The league will resume on the 10th. We will have an away game against Tour.

Nice write-up mate, as well as some very good results too!
Make sure you keep that top spot now ;)
Great results man
Nice results and good write up too !
pompeyblue- We were seven points away two months ago and it was really hard work to get to the top spot. But because of that I assure you that we will keep it! ;)

BayernAmerica- Thanks m8! :)

captainbrickarms- Thanks! I must say I was quite happy with my writing when I finished the last update, it has been months I had not written!

Mid-Season Review

I’m writing a review about each player in the team. This is part one and it’s about our goalkeepers.


Shortly after my arrival at Caen, I sold Thomas Bosmel to Ajaccio. Bosmel was expected to become the new number one keeper, rather than Damien Perquis.
Perquis himself became Caen’s number one the previous season, and it seemed like I would keep him as so. But I signed Ronan Le Crom.

At first I wanted him to challenge Perquis for the starting spot but I did not expect that he would become the starter. However Le Crom has managed to gain my favour and Perquis is close to leaving the club.

Ronan Le Crom (39 year old): 16 appearances/19 conceded. Average rating: 6.84.

Le Crom made his first appearance for the club during the League Cup win against Créteil. He kept his first clean sheet. Ten days later, following Perquis poor performance away at Laval, Le Crom was given his first league start for the club.

Once again we faced Créteil, and Le Crom had another solid performance (rating: 7.00). Since Le Crom has had up and downs. He conceded five against Metz, was voted man of the match on one occasion, made incredible saves and did not have many clean sheets to celebrate (3).

And he managed not to lose my faith, partly because Perquis is underperforming. And partly because of his high concentration which allowed him to make very important saves in the end of games, when the defence was tiring.

Damien Perquis (27 year old): 5 appearances/11 conceded. Average rating: 6.52.

It’s not hard to tell who has the best stats this season. And the effect it has on the team, we won 20% of our games with Perquis (1/5) against 75% with Le Crom (12/16).
Perquis started the season as number one, so he was in the team which won the first game against Dijon (1-0). It was a quiet evening for him, with no save to make. He did not make any save neither against Laval, but this time we conceded two goals.

For the following game he was replaced by Le Crom. However at this point I hadn’t established that Le Crom would become the permanent number 1. I took this decision following the 4-1 League Cup where Perquis was given his chance to play.

He had two other chances to perform but failed to impress me on each occasion. I’m now considering selling him, as he is not competing for the top spot.

Paul Reulet (19 year old): No first-team appearance

Reulet is one of the most promising players coming out of our academy. This season he conceded 12 goals out of seventeen games with the youth squad, keeping seven clean sheets.
He is currently injured, and has already been at the start of the season, so I won’t have opportunity to test him during our winter break friendlies. But I consider having him as Le Crom’s backup in case of an injury, a ban or an unwanted drop of form.

If I sell Perquis we should get a fair amount of money but I don’t want to use it in transfers. In January we’ll only have players leaving, no signings.

Mid-Season Review

I’m writing a review about each player in the team. This is part two and it’s about our centre backs.


Centre Backs:

Leyti N’Diaye (28 year old): 15 appearances/3 goals. Average Rating: 7.17.

N’Diaye is without any doubt one of the best players in the league. He joined the club as a star, and he lived up to expectations.
He played well as a central defender, but he went to an even higher level when I gave him a defensive midfielder role (7.40 rating in 4 games).
Overall he made 185 interceptions (5th best in the league) and got 41 key headers (4th). Heading his really his best attribute and he’s barely beaten in the airs (87% completion ratio).
He will be one of our key elements in the upcoming months for the title challenge.

Molla Wagué (22 year old): 12 appearances/3 goals/1 assist. Average Rating: 7.11.

Wagué played twenty times last season for Caen, but he did not feature in my first team plans at the start of the season. It was only in November, when I changed my tactics and needed someone to fill the defender spot left by N’Diaye, that he started getting regular football.
And he was a perfect replacement. He can still improve is defending skills (4 mistakes leading to goals) but he impressed me and I discovered a huge potential. And he can score goals too! In fact he smashed into the back of the nets a superb volley against Istres. It is my goal of the season so far.

Mamoudou Mara (23 year old): 7 appearances/1 goal. Average Rating: 6.87.

I signed Mara as a backup player, and he perfectly fulfilled his role. In league Mara has had very good performances (7.12 average rating), and the team’s cup failures lowed his overall rating.
Because of the nearing comebacks of Boumsong and Saad in the team, Mara will maybe be sent away in loan for the second part of the season.

Felipe Saad (30 year old): 7 appearances/1 goal. Average Rating: 6.67.

When I arrived at the club, one of the first players I identified as key was Felipe Saad. It has now been more than two months that he has been left out from the squad.
You’ll probably expect this has been because of the injury problems so many players encountered this year, but the only time Saad has been injured this season was for the last game we played. The game I had intended to recall him in the line-up.

Why have I excluded a player I still consider as one of our best elements? I thought he was not acting professional and I can’t accept that in my team.
End of August we had a nightmare game against Metz (0-5) and he was sent-off with five minutes left. I gave him a warning.
One month later we played against Chateauroux who gave us a tough game. Made even harder by Saad, getting two yellow cards in the first twenty minutes when we were not completely out of the game (0-1, final score 1-2). Consequently I decided to fine him two weeks wage, which seemed normal to me as was warned a few weeks before.
However Saad did not share my opinion and decided he didn’t want to play for the club anymore. So after making clear to him that he wouldn’t go anywhere, I just left him out of the squad until I felt it was the right moment to call him back.

He was unfortunate to pick up an injury on the eve of our game against Brest, but I will have him back as a starter for our mid-season friendlies.
Hopefully in the season’s second half, he will become the player I expected him to be when I arrived.

Jean-Jacques Pierre (32 year old): 7 appearances/1 goal. Average Rating: 6.94.

Pierre has been a first team regular last season but I never felt he should have the same role now. I believe he has been a very fine player, who had quite a good spell at Nantes, but his time has passed.
Nonetheless I’m very happy with his contribution and his work ethic. And like Mara his league rating (7.15) is better than his overall rating because of our cups defeats.

Jean-Alain Boumsong (34 year old): 5 appearances. Average Rating: 6.80.

Boumsong was meant to be one of our most important players. But injuries have kept him out most of the time. He has not played since the 27th of August and he should come back in mid-January.
When fit, he will compete with Saad to start alongside Wagué.

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