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Red Bull In Paris : RB Paris

Started on 13 November 2020 by OohAhCantona
Latest Reply on 8 May 2021 by TheLFCFan
2020-12-17 09:06#279942 Harleygator : Even if you're a top-tier side, I think you should always keep a regular eye on the free transfer market, and aim at minimum to bring in at least 1 free agent per season. There's always someone in there who can contribute to the club, from an old head who can train the youngsters in the reserves, to even just a semi-decent guy whose gonna fetch a reasonable price in the next season.

I do give them a look when my scouts propose them, but at least now they are splitting my scouting efforts with guys I'll have to pay for.

Strasbourg, in the Alsace-Lorraine region of eastern France, would serve as an idyllic backdrop for RB Paris’ first training camp of the Ligue 1 era. Perhaps there is an appropriate parallel to be made about an Austrian owned French football team setting up shop in a region known for cross-border hostilities stretching back to the Franco-Prussian War. Whatever that parallel might be, Patrice Evra didn’t have time to think about it thanks to all the changes in the squad.

The team would open up with two Ligue 1 friendlies against AS Monaco and LOSC Lille. Hard to read too much into preseason results, but Evra’s rebuilt squad handled both with easy 3-1 wins where only RB Paris looked particularly motivated. A more rigid training program, over the usual slow start, may have contributed to this.

“The season hasn’t started yet, though it’s good to win. Even in a friendly, I’m glad we got to see some Ligue 1 opponents and everyone was happy to see Wilson [Isidor] again.”

One team took the results very seriously, there is likely more to the story but LOSC Lille took a “If you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em” approach to their loss. Christophe Galtier would be sacked after the game and Evra would be approached for an interview. He declined much like the Marseille job even though LOSC Lille is probably closer to the kind of team Evra might move to next if he continues to be successful. They would move on quickly and hire Filippo Inzaghi to fill the vacant manager position.

A close 1-0 win over RB Leipzig would be followed by a 3-1 win over Manchester United, United would basically play reserves and youth players with the Premier League about to start so like last preseason it’s hard to read too much into it. New signing Aliou Traoré would score against his former club but CB Pierluigi Pinto would pull an ankle ligament and be ruled out for two weeks. Overall the club escaped too many injuries before the real games started, Evra would need everyone healthy if they were going to stay up.

One group of people didn’t put any stock in the preseason as RB Paris would be picked for relegation by the media. They would share the worst title odds in the league (1000-1) with Toulouse, RC Lens, and Dijon FCO. Picking the Ligue 2 teams to go back down would be easy, but that doesn’t mean RB Paris aren’t relegation fodder.

RB Paris open the season against Amiens SC before facing Lyon and Marseille at the end of the month, quite a welcoming party.

Retirements and expiring contracts have really helped pare back a squad that was a little bloated at times, Patrice Evra had a number of players on the payroll or filling up the training pitch that never touched the field last year. Most of those players are gone and the first year manager learned his lesson when it comes to depth requirements when using a wing back heavy tactic. Disgruntled players have also found themselves fighting for their job as the club pushes some players aside, some might see this as harsh but the culture of the club is changing and there isn’t any room for hurt feelings.

Anthony Maisonnal tried to use the move to Ligue 1 as leverage in getting a new contract, but instead it pushed new General Manager Thomas Linke to go out and get another GK. Maisonnal had serious issues in one-on-one scenarios, a killer when teams are getting in behind a high line, so there has long been a feeling that he would be in danger. Demetre Buliskeria comes in as competition but most assume he’s got the job. The Georgian came in with a big fee and most scouts feel he’s much better than Maisonnal.

Abner Felipe, once called the “Next Roberto Carlos” has fallen quite a bit since his days with Real Madrid. He never made it beyond their B Team, but he represents a stark jump in quality at LB not to mention filling a depth need. The added speed and experience at left wingback will be a real boost after Evra had to limp through last year tossing warm bodies out there on the left. This is where Evra brought in so many players, along with making Danny Malitoli’s move to the senior squad permanent, mainly because they had too many loanees filling spots. Florent Hanin is back, behind Abner Felipe, and gets promoted to Vice-Captain. Marcel Lavinier, new signing Dennis Waidner, and Malitoli will all be considered as the starting RB but Malitoli is considered the heavy favorite. Waidner, a Bayern Munich youth player, is a solid snag with decent upside for Evra’s side. He might not be good enough to stick at the Bavarian club but he’s one of RB Paris’ most promising players now.

João Paulo is now the unquestioned leader of the back line, at least in terms of talent, Axel Bamba has been named the new Captain and will form a solid central defensive pairing. Pierluigi Pinto and Haytham Al-Louz have been brought in as depth, hopefully Evra won’t need them too much but if they are needed the coaches feel good about their potential.

Hannibal Mejbri, just 18-years old, is a shooting star in midfield. He might just be the best player at the club right now, which is another reminder about how far RB Paris needs to climb. Mejbri is likely to start most games in the deep lying playmaker position with Jason Kikonda returning in the box to box midfielder role. Kemehlo Nguena comes over from Troyes with the ability to play either position in the double pivot but should be primarily a BBM thanks to a stark lack of depth there. Diego Raposo will do his best to unseat Mejbri for that starting DLP spot, but he can also play on the right wing so Evra has some flexibility here.

Evra and Linke focused quite a bit on the offense with some fears about offense in Ligue 1. There are some murmurs about the club that some don’t think Lamine Diaby-Fadiga can maintain his form in Ligue 1, citing better defenses and the kinds of high end players the team is going to face with the bigger teams. RB Paris has cleared out all of the competition aside from loanee Dillon Hoogewerf, so they seem to be making a big bet with the striker. They didn’t spend any money on senior level center forwards so this could be something they address in January or next summer even if Diaby-Fadiga plays well. Aliou Traoré and Benito, who they landed on a free, are the biggest additions on offense. Seriously upgrading the wings, starters and depth, was a need for Evra and it looks like they got it done. Much like last year this squad could struggle as everyone acclimates and then the hope is they can play well enough to stay up.

Ligue 1 has basically turned into a league of two tiers; PSG, and everyone else. The Qatari owned Death Star now looms large over French football and they continue to be fully armed and operational. The gulf between the eleven time champions, with four in a row, and the rest of the league is vast and doesn’t look to be shrinking much. The fact that nine of their eleven titles have come in the past ten seasons should be a good indication of how hard they have become to stop.

PSG are once again picked to win the league, betting against them could be a costly affair, and their stable of international talent make it obvious as to why. Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, arguably two of the world’s top five players, make a horrifying attack that can shred any defense on the right day. If there are any chinks in Thomas Tuchel’s armor, it might be the aging nature of the team. The knock on PSG is that they often skip on letting their wonderkids into the senior squad and favor the transfer market, but Tuchel has shown some willingness to let high-end prospects like Xavi Simons into the squad. The team is still full of players just beyond their peak, but the Qatari owned club will likely have a sell off followed by a massive spending spree in the next few years.

The real battle, or at least the one with the most openings for intrigue, is for the Champions League slots. The race for second and third is likely a four team race with Lyon, Marseille, OSC Lille, and AS Monaco capable of taking the slots. That being said, Lyon and Marseille are the most settled sides with the best odds of making the tournament. Lyon’s Rudi Garcia is probably in the better position of the two with some higher end talent on hand and a few exciting youngsters if needed. Houssem Aouar has avoided being sold and anchors an exciting midfield with Bruno Guimarães. Recent addition Evander adds some high end depth to the midfield that only strengthens Lyon’s chances. James Rodríguez makes him way over from Everton after only a year in England and creates the potential for an exciting attack. The only knock on the squad is a lack of a dependable striker, ever since Victor Osimhen departed they have only been able to enjoy the massive pile of cash. Marseille lack the big names but they have a solid squad for the newly appointed Michael Laudrup to work with. Their back line looks very good with Duje Caleta-Car, Maxime Lopez, Berat Djimsiti, and Serge Aurier forming their core. Much like PSG they are getting a little old, but they have a number of young players ready to come up and contribute to the senior squad.

LOSC Lille and new manager Filippo Inzaghi have mostly youth on their side with a few very exciting players they will be lucky to hold on to for the next few years. Boubakary Soumaré was signed for free from PSG in 2017 and never looked back, the midfielder is Lille’s best player and will need to play that way if they have any chance of making the Champions League. Feel good story Renato Sanches seems to have revived his career after a sad spell at Bayern Munich and looks like the player everyone thought he could be. AS Monaco, to be blunt, are a mess. They have a talented squad but things are so bad with management that they apparently almost hired Thierry Henry a second time before thinking better of it and going with Niko Kovač instead. The Croatian has some good players on hand, but the team has gone through so many managers since Henry left that they lack stability. They could be the biggest threat to Lyon and Marseille if they can get things together.

Things drop off rather sharply after that group with a muddle of teams that will struggle to stand out. RB Paris would like to think they are in that group, but most have picked them to finish at or near the bottom of the league. Just staying up will be a minor accomplishment.

Joining RB Paris near the bottom of the league is Toulouse, RC Lens, and Dijon FCO. Toulouse and Dijon should feel a little hurt that the media has picked them near the bottom, Toulouse finished 14th last year and Dijon has steadily improved since finishing 18th in the 2018-19 season. RC Lens, much like RB Paris, is low-hanging fruit since they earned promotion last year. A dark horse candidate for relegation is Stade Rennais FC after they sold off €76M in talent, including Eduardo Camavinga, and didn’t replace it. There could be an opening for them to struggle.
I wonder where all that money has gone in regards to Rennes? It seems strange to have recouped so much cash when losing significant talent and not re-investing it appropriately. Good luck for the upcoming season.
2020-12-20 12:05#280095 ScottT : I wonder where all that money has gone in regards to Rennes? It seems strange to have recouped so much cash when losing significant talent and not re-investing it appropriately. Good luck for the upcoming season.

It looks like PSG is the only team that regularly sells off and then spends it all on new players (which kinda makes sense), but I know Stade Rennais has a good crop of youth that I've scouted and they give them playing time.

Patrice Evra’s first run at Ligue 1 started out like a dream but quickly turned into a nightmare, though a manageable one with plenty of time to fix.

The season would open with a closer-than-it-appeared 4-2 win over Amiens SC that would feature an Aliou Traoré double. Traoré would score RB Paris’ first ever Ligue 1 goal just 20’ into the game as Les Taureux would come out at full throttle. Playing wide and stretching Amiens SC across the field, or catching them crowded onto one side, really helped open this game up and give RB Paris the confidence they will need to survive the season. Traoré, Florent Hanin, and Lamine Diaby-Fadiga would score in the second half for a 4-0 lead at 69’, the game seemed well in hand. Just a minute later Serhou Guirassy would put the visitors on the board thanks to what could be charitably called bad defending. Stiven Mendoza was allowed to loop around the outside on the left and make it to the endline unencumbered by a defender, a quick pass back into the center found and unmarked Guirassy thanks to a lazy retreat by RB Paris’ back line. More atrocious defending followed with a similar display at 88’, this time Gaël Kakuta found the pass while crashing the back post and an exhausted RB Paris was now looking at 4-2 with a desperate desire to end the game. At 90+1’ Kakuta would crash the back post again and head in a cross off a throw in, but the flag would go up much to Evra’s relief. The game would drag on with Amiens SC looking like they smelled blood, but RB Paris would do just enough to get away with their first Ligue 1 win.

“I’m very proud, we played well” said Evra immediately after the game “we made it a little too close at the end, but we played our game and got it done.”

The excitement of their first win would drain out of the side quickly after a poorly contested 1-0 loss at Toulouse FC. Evra would use his second squad for the first time with Lyon and Marseille coming up next, it seemed like a good time to rest his side against another team picked for relegation. Toulouse FC would use a familiar playbook, scoring an early goal off a set piece that would be called offside. The hosts really took this game to RB Paris, the level of comfort with the second squad was obvious as Evra needs them to play together more often. Adama Traoré would score at 72’ and a disjointed RB Paris wouldn’t have any answers, surrendering their first loss in Ligue 1.

A visit from Lyon would follow with all the signs pointing to a bad game. Conrad Wallem and Pierluigi Pinto would be ruled out before the game after twisting their ankles in practice, the club would announce their absence for up to three weeks. Ankle problems would haunt Evra coming into the game with Haytham Al-Louz pulling an ankle ligament in warmups, knocking him out for two weeks. Rudi Garcia would get a rude awakening at Stade Sébastien Charléty, much like Amiens SC the hosts came out firing and put Lyon on their heels. Karl Toko Ekambi would give Lyon a 1-0 lead at 25’ but just a few minutes later Traoré would level things before Diaby-Fadiga would give RB Paris a 1-0 lead off a nice lobbed through ball by Hanin. With a heavy disadvantage in possession (37%) Lyon looked a little lost even as their superior players did their best to tip the momentum in their favor. Houssem Aouar would finally get it done with an incredible goal from just inside the box at 74’, blasting one by Demetre Buliskeria that looked like it might have gone in from twice the distance. Lyon tried to park the bus and get away with a point, but in the end they needed a flag to save them after Traoré scored what would have been the winner at 86’ only to be called offsides. A point is nice, but RB Paris went toe-to-toe with a Ligue 1 giant and nearly won.

The next week was a different story, a trip to Stade Orange Vélodrome would have a Ligue 1 mainstay show RB Paris how things should be according to the blue bloods. Michael Laudrup’s side would get a penalty at 7’, one that Buliskeria would block on his way to an improbable PoM award, but that was the best RB Paris could muster. Marseille outclasses the visitors, outpossessed, and outshot them on their way to what would be a close but easy win. Bouna Sarr would make Hanin look lost on the back post at 71’ for the winning goal. The most telling issue was RB Paris resorting to fouls, they would foul Marseille (28) times compared to Marseille’s (4). There would be more salt on the wound as Abner Felipe would pull a thigh muscle the day they returned to training, knocking the LB out for up to two weeks.

One ray of hope to start the season came as RB Paris announced a new contract for RB Danny Malitoli. The deal would give him a massive raise to €8K a week and lock him up for the next five years. Inside sources say the deal includes a €41.5M relegation release clause that puts more pressure on Evra to stay up. The club is very invested in Malitoli, they think he’s an absolute gem and the kind of player they need to keep as long as possible.

Not a disasterous start. It's a base to work from.
Nothing wrong with managing a game with fouls if you're the underdog. :)
OohAhCantona's avatar Group OohAhCantona
3 yearsEdited

The month of September left Patrice Evra with a clear set of issues the team needs to work on, some of them could just be luck but others are common issues that keep popping up. Two injuries would pop up near the start of the month with only one having a real impact on the squad. Manu Fuster would be diagnosed with a sports hernia and ruled out for five weeks, then Marcel Lavinier would end up with a twisted ankle that many think he suffered against Marseille but didn’t tell the physio staff. The injury would cost him four weeks, likely being worse because he didn’t have it treated.

RB Paris’ opening game against OGC Nice would end as a 1-0 loss that would highlight their struggles to finish despite having all the chances in the world. On paper RB Paris owned this game, and their midfield ran roughshod over OGC Nice, but two headers on corners hit the crossbar and the attack did little with what was given to them. Hannibal Mejbri had a PoM performance stolen by Nice’s Adam Ounas thanks to his goal, but (10) key passes were not enough to get RB Paris into the net.

“That is a game we should have won” said Mejbri following the game “we just didn’t put everything together, we let the fans down on that one.”

The next two games helped their place in the table, a 1-0 win over Dijon FCO and a surprising 4-1 win over Angers SCO, but the hallmarks of trouble were still there. It didn’t help that Florent Hanin would suffer a torn groin muscle, knocking him out for four weeks, or that Dijon managed a goal line clearance that could have made it 2-0. Only being able to score on a penalty, a well placed effort by Mejbri, made things feel even more stagnant. The 4-1 win over Angers was a nice blend of RB Paris playing well and Angers playing poorly. The visitors allowed three goals in the span of nine minutes, a Dillon Hoogewerf double and the first of Conrad Wallem’s double, with Angers’ Renaud Emond making it four total in that span. It didn’t save Evra in the media since this was the second squad, though it was good to see them come together and find a way to win big.

The month closed out with a much deserved 1-0 loss to FC Nantes, a team that was more than happy to sit back and let RB Paris run into a brick wall. Despite only having the ball 29% of the game, their four shots on target were significantly more dangerous than RB Paris’. The fact that they would win it late on a penalty was a bit of mercy for the visitors, RB Paris should have lost by more as they put out an uninspiring performance.

The first few months of RB Paris’ first season in Ligue 1 served as a bit of a rude awakening, the club hasn’t managed to lose half their games in quite a while and the team would be desperate for a bit of a rest. October would provide an opening for that, after their first game against Bordeaux they would get two weeks off for an international break. Not having anyone get called up has its advantages at times.

Just getting past Bordeaux felt like a bigger hill than it should have been thanks to an early injury. Conrad Wallem would go down with a knee injury, pulled ligaments, at 24’ and get replaced by Morgan Guilavogui on the right. While losing Wallem would be tough, the injury would count him out for three weeks, Guilavogui would have the game of his life. Two goals in first half stoppage time would send Bordeaux to the locker room down 2-0 after looking like they might hold out, and then a third at 77’ off a penalty would make it 4-0 after Lamine Diaby Fadiga’s at 59’. The 4-0 win would help heal some wounds, but with PSG looming after the break they wouldn’t have too long to rest.

“We needed that win, a win where we didn’t get our way but found a win to win” admitted Patrice Evra after the game. Turning an unusually low number of shot into a high ratio of on target shots and goals was key to the win.

As things turned out, Wallem’s injury timing was about as good as it can get. Two of his three weeks were during the break so he would only miss the game against Reims and likely be available for PSG. The break also gave Evra some time to work out some issues on the right side, with Danny Malitoli and Benito struggling to play well together. The media was quick to jump on Benito, who was causing issues by preferring to run wide with the ball and blocking Malitoli’s overlaps. The Zambian and Spaniard only having a loose grasp of French in common likely didn’t help, but Benito needed to work on cutting inside to open up space on the wings. Evra was also dealing with a number of suspensions for Reims, though letting guys sit so they would be available for PSG wasn’t a hard sell.

Parc des Princes would host RB Paris’ first Ligue 1 Paris derby, and most assumed things would get really bad for the top tier debutants. They weren’t far off, but an 8’ goal by Diaby-Fadiga would put off their fate for a little while. The assist provided by Hannibal Mejbri would almost overshadow the goal, a silky through ball right down the channel from just above the center circle would catch Diaby-Fadiga in stride and Marquinhos off balance to make the goal look like a sitter. The small section of red clad fans would have something to cheer about before things got ugly, Evra’s disciplinary issues would come back with a vengeance. You could argue there was some home field bias, but on top of that RB Paris went a little overboard as the players became more frustrated with PSG’s level of skill. Even having Florent Hanin back from injury did little to help, during the course of the game RB Paris was called for (32) fouls to PSG’s (6) and earned (10) bookings. One of those ill-advised fouls led to a Mauro Icardi penalty at 33’ that wiped out Diaby-Fadiga’s early goal. Neymar would put the hosts up 2-1 at 55’ and it wasn’t long before all those bookings ended RB Paris’ chances of coming back. Benito would be booked a second time at 76’, normally this might not be so bad but PSG completely took over the game at that point and made it 3-1 at 80’ to finish things off.

“That was not how we wanted to show up,” said Evra after the game “I don’t mind losing so much as how we lost. We can’t play like that. Ever.”

The silver lining of losing to PSG was that nobody expected them to win, and for a club just out of Ligue 2 a 3-1 loss wasn’t the end of the world. With the team exhausted the second squad would take on AS Saint-Etienne and win 2-0, a very easy win and a great response to the PSG loss. RB Paris would grind down AS Saint-Etienne, allowing only two shots all game, and eventually score twice in the second half. The losses are bound to come, but if Evra can keep the club winning games against teams in the middle to bottom half of the table they should be safely out of the relegation zone all year.

A mercifully short month would feature fixtures against teams from just about every tier in Ligue 1, away games with AS Monaco and Brest would represent near polar opposites of the top flight with a lone home game against Stade Rennais. Unfortunately for Patrice Evra, the Injury Gods would not show mercy as the second half of the season approaches rapidly.

The visit to Stade Louis II would actually turn out quite well, this was a game most picked RB Paris to lose. Niko Kovač wasn’t shy about supporting this opinion, perhaps he should have kept that to himself.

“It’s a nice story, but we are challenging for the title. We won’t let them kick us around.”

RB Paris did indeed kick them around, though they also managed to kick the ball into the back of the net three times. A Kemehlo Nguena header off a corner at 23’ would open the scoring and Evra’s side would never look back. RB Paris would dominate possession and Kovač’s 4-4-2 approach turned into a disaster as RB Paris dominated the middle of the field. Alexandr Golovin and Ross Barkley looked lost stuck in the middle of RB Paris’ Said Arab / Hannibal Mejbri / Nguena triangle. Mejbri basically ripped AS Monaco apart with seven key passes on his way to a PoM award. It didn’t matter that Wissam Ben Yedder and Davie Selke were one-on-one with the inexperienced Pierluigi Pinto and João Paulo, they couldn’t get through the middle to take advantage of the channels and found themselves forced to the sidelines in possession. Better yet, at times Ben Yedder would try to drop deep but that just left Selke without the one-on-one advantage. The worst part of the game would be losing Abner Felipe to a sprained knee at 35’, leaving the club desperately thin at LB. All the shin kicking going on finally led to a penalty for AS Monaco, making it 2-1 at 84’, but Pinto would head one in on a corner just a few minutes later to close things out 3-1.

Evra barely had time to enjoy the win, even moving up to 4th wasn’t going to paper over a triple blow to the squad. Abner Felipe’s knee would rule him out for four to five weeks, and then Aliou Traoré would pull his thigh in training and get sidelined for a little over a week. Things really got bad the very next day when Demetre Buliskeria would break his right ring finger in practice, knocking him out for up to five weeks. That was one injury Evra was going to need to let heal, Anthony Maisonnal was a decent stand in but the club couldn’t risk losing Buliskeria for too long.

The Injury Gods giveth, with the return of Florent Hanin against Stade Rennais, and the Injury Gods taketh away with Conrad Wallem tearing his hamstring in the same game. Hanin would score a double in his return, helping the team wallop the visitors 5-2, but Wallem’s injury would rule him out for up to two months. Getting a complete game like that would feel good, especially after beating up on AS Monaco, but the series of injuries suffered would cast a shadow over the following month.

A stale 1-1 draw at Brest would end the month but open up a brutal stretch of games with three in roughly a week. A tired squad would choke away a 1-0 lead in stoppage time thanks to an Olimpiu Moruţan goal. Despite owning this game, the stoppage time frailty is something Evra will need to deal with quickly. With the Coupe de France coming up the team is going to see some stretches where their conditioning is tested, losing multiple games in a row could be very damaging.

Patrice Evra would find his squad getting fed through a wood chipper to start December, the remainder of three games in one week that started with a 1-1 draw at Brest turned into his worst fears. Losing Demetre Buliskeria didn’t seem like the end of the world because Anthony Maisonnal was still around, but two bad losses in a row would change the thinking on that.

Nîmes, who were sitting 4th at the time, had the playbook on RB Paris nailed. The visitors went down 1-0 just before the half and spent most of the game on the wrong end of a 60-40 possession split, but late in the game a tired RB Paris created some openings and Nîmes were happy to take advantage. Like a slow motion disaster, Younousse Sankharé would head in a free kick at 80’ and then at 88’ Anthony Briançon would do the same off a corner. Just like that Nîmes flipped a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win while only putting three shots on target.

If losing to Nîmes was a slow motion wreck, LOSC Lille was like a nuclear bomb going off at the beginning of the game. Just 20’ into the game LOSC Lille would be up 3-0, one of those goals might rank as the dumbest thing Maisonnal had ever done in his career. With Axel Bamba and João Paulo wide at the corners of the goal area Hannibal Mejbri would drop deep to receive the ball from Maisonnal. LOSC Lille had retreated to the half so Maisonnal made a lazy pass to Mejbri that was barely hard enough to pass the arc, Timothy Weah was still high and sprinted past Mejbri to get to the ball first and knock it in a near empty net thanks to Maisonnal being outside the goal area. Boubakary Soumaré would have the other two, and Evra would be furious with his side. Soumaré would complete his hat trick at 55’ and the body language of RB Paris said it all, when Lamine Diaby-Fadiga made it 4-1 ten minutes later it seemed like nobody cared. RB Paris could not get out of Lille fast enough, leaving Maisonnal behind seemed like a viable option.

Having a week off and a home game was much needed at this point, even some struggles against Strasbourg’s 4-2-4 didn’t stop RB Paris from taking this one 2-0. The formation gave Evra trouble on the wings, but their ability to play through the middle and score while doing it was a good sign following two really bad losses. A lucky break would save Evra from a third bad loss to finish the month at RC Lens, but Evra certainly wasn’t looking at it as good luck.

“Piss poor. We looked like *expletive*, sorry, but we did,” was all Evra could say about RC Lens.

If it’s possible to have a bad draw, this was it. RB Paris nearly lost 1-0 but an 87’ Nils Fröling goal (off a set piece) was disallowed for offsides, even with manager Franck Haise exploding on the refs the call didn’t change. Nearly losing after enjoying a 70-30 split on the ball was not what Evra needed.

As 2021 came to a close RB Paris would be in a surprisingly good position statistically and in the league. Sitting 8th, a very respectable eight points out of Europa League qualification and twelve out of the relegation zone, was a very pleasant surprise despite taking a dump in December. The bigs surprise would be their offense and defense, with RB Paris sitting 4th in goals scored and 8th in goals allowed it would paint the picture of a team ready to make a home in mid-table. The red flags, literally, would be their (78) yellows to lead Ligue 1 and their 7th place ranking in reds. The drop in dismissals was much better than last year, but with so many bookings more might be lurking around the corner.

i think you doing a good job if goal is too fight to manutain in first league

It’s hard to get too excited about individual performances this year, but it is a good sign that RB Paris has been able to achieve through balance and depth. It would be more of a concern if only one player was scoring all of their goals or providing all of their assists, instead there is a healthy balance that makes them hard to defend. Finishing the first half 4th in goals scored wasn’t an accident.

Lamine Diaby-Fadiga has done a decent job against Ligue 1 competition, but his (6) in half a season doesn’t look quite as good paired with a sub 7.00 average rating. Still, he’s done a good job for the circumstances and there is still room for him to improve. Nobody else has more than (3), with four players hitting that mark. The good signs in that cluster are Aliou Traoré and Morgan Guilavogui, both of them have made the most of crosses being dumped into the box. The Danny Malitoli-Traoré connection has been particularly profitable with the Zambian RB finding Traoré stalking the back post at a regular pace.

One of the other encouraging signs is high average ratings that just aren’t turning into goals, which is fine because it indicates the team is playing well. Hannibal Mejbri has been particularly good, his 7.33 rating is the highest on the first squad even without much scoring.

If you can somehow forget December and parts of November, this squad looks ready to stay out of Ligue 2 for at least one more season. It’s too bad that one of their best players (Mejbri) is on loan and likely won’t return next year.

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