SeasonNine.EpisodeTwo | Matchs aller
Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 blog with Stade Rennais. If you missed by previous post, you can catch up with everything that happened, here:
This has been a difficult period for Stade Rennais. Well, I say difficult like some ‘woe is me’ cry, but we were so good up until a sticky patch at the end of November when we dropped five points to let our rivals back into it.
We had our central midfield bolstered with the €65M signing of Pedro Moreno from Porto which has given us the depth we lacked last season. I now feel like I genuinely have two players for every position and it has shown with our ability to cope with the Champions League fixtures and the league.
September 2027 – December 2027
Here’s what has been going on at Parc de la Guérinais over the last couple of months.
No changes to the system means a full familiar system for the players and it showed. We absolutely smashed every opposition in the league, and the Champions League was just as comfortable.
I think keeping the squad together this summer has really helped with cohesion and it seems to be showing on the pitch.
With 11 straight wins everything is going right for us. We had a bit of a scare against Sporting, but a corner goal saved the day! Erwan le Bras continues his development and has now made Ayari’s position in the squad really insecure. Unfortunately, his value is really low for someone of his ability, so it might be another case of high sell-on fee if we let him go.
What was I saying about that team cohesion?
The Lorient game was a blip. A one off. I think they call it a statistical anomaly. We outshot them 26 to 7 but on the day they took their chances and we didn’t. It was a game I quickly forgot.
Back to business afterwards, including a brilliant and hard fought victory over Atlético Madrid, who are managed by Pep Guardiola of all people.
Worryingly, no strikers scored this month. This must be what Samo feels like with his strikers. Fortunately, the goals were coming in from the midfield, but it’s something I need to pay attention to as a lot to the chances we create fall to the strikers. Le Bras has had over 100 shots this season so far up until the end of December. More than any other player, which shows the reliance on the role for goals.
He is still only young, at 19 years old he has a lot of development time on his side, and with us he will get the game time to grow and realise his potential.
Things started to get a little rocky for us in November.
I’m not really sure what happened. You could argue that the 0-0 draw away against Atlético Madrid was a good result. The 2-1 defeat to PSG is never a good result. Of all the teams in the league we don’t want to lose to is them.
The Champions League victory over Sporting was a shock. I never expected us to come away with a 7-1 victory but I decided to go with an Attacking Mentality to try get us on the front foot more and it worked. It even made Le Bras get his first hat trick for the club. But it was back to balanced for the league.
We may have also had a couple of penalties along the way…
Another disappointing result opening up the month away against Sochaux. A 1-1 draw in another game we dominated.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but 27 shots to 6 and we really should have been scoring more here. We dominated with 65% possession too. But such is the way of this league. You think you’re coasting and then a result like that brings you back down to earth.
A switch back to the Attacking Mentality and what happened at the end of the season was amazing. 19 goals in the final 3 games. Goals from all over the pitch. Moreno is also getting more involved in the team now after a low start.
It was also great to see Cristian Rivas start to get the praise he deserves in goal. 53 games and 35 clean sheets sees him named World Goalkeeper of the Year. He was also named in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI.
Le Bras was also named as the European Golden Boy for his 23 goals. The awards didn’t stop there, though. Onguéné was named BBC African Footballer of the Year and was runner up in the CAF Footballer of the Year.
It’s all looking good for us as we for the Champions League with ease and sit top of the table by 5 points.
We have Le Havre, our new affiliates next in the Coupe De France, and Manchester United in the first knockout round of the Champions League. January is a quiet month for us but with Monaco and Lyon to play it’ll be good to see where we are at the end of it.
The league table up to the turn of the year. It’s looking good again.
So that just about rounds up another great few months for Stade Rennais. It’s about time we kick on in the Champions League now and we’ve no better opponents to test ourselves against than Manchester United.
My next post will be a short one covering the January window at Stade Rennais.
As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, or via twitter @fmfutbolmanager.
Until next time, à tout à l’heure.