Will Gane returns with his Ligue 2 talking points column.
1 | Amiens continue to surprise
In Amiens’ first season back in Ligue 2 since 2011/12, the Picardy team sit top of the pile after gameweek 6. Following a respectable point at home to recently relegated Reims and a defeat away to Strasbourg, they have gone on a 4 match winning run (unprecedented in Ligue 2) and have picked up some impressive scalps in the process.
Niort and Lens were swept aside without conceding, before Amiens scored back to back trebles against Nimes and Tours respectively. Jonathan Tinhan has picked up from where he left off last season in National, notching 4 in 5 starts so far and his goalscoring form has been instrumental to their position so far.
As with every Ligue 2 season, Amiens’ position should not necessarily be a shock, though with the bigger teams underperforming they been able to give themselves a great chance, already, of survival at this early stage.
2 | Casanova is in trouble
Talking about underperforming teams, Lens fit perfectly into this bracket. Just 7 points collected from their first 6 games represents a less than satisfactory haul, with the Pas-de-Calais club still languishing from their failed promotion campaign last season.
Toulouse legend Casanova was charged solely with getting the team back to where they, and everyone else in France, believes they belong in Ligue 1, though at first glance of their promotion credentials you wouldn’t hedge your bets that the Bollaert will see top tier football next year.
A limp draw at home to winless Bourg en Bresse last Friday would have done little to get fans on side, in what was surely a must win. A flurry of deadline day signings screamed panic rather than ambition, as an early season injury crisis forced their hand into the market at the final hurdle.
By far and away the pick of the bunch Adama Guira, signed from Danish side SonderjyskE will beef up an already excellent midfield alongside John Bostock and Benjamin Bourigeaud, though Casanova’s final formula will likely not take shape until everyone is fit, perhaps seeing his favourite 352 formation return.
3 | Bourg’s glory days may be over
As mentioned previously, Bourg managed to eek out a more than admirable point away at Lens last week. Just their 3rd point of the campaign so far, they sit 19th only due to Niort’s inferior goal difference, and unless things improve quickly it looks as if they are in for a rough ride this term.
The signs were there in the latter stages of last year, as Bourg’s fearless pursuit of a swashbuckling attacking style using a 4-4-2 diamond came unhinged, with the team falling from as high as 3rd to a final 11th placed finish. The inevitable exodus at Bourg has seen a turnaround of 9 out, 11 in, and this may make for a troublesome season with club legend Herve de Maggiore clearly struggling to find his best starting XI yet.
Time is on his hands however, as the minnows enjoyed unparalleled success for a club their size on their first season in Ligue 2, and with the league invariably so tight until at least Christmas they should at least remain in touch.
4 | Valenciennes’ unlikely success continues
Despite only 3 signings this window, Faruk Hadzibegic has guided the team to an excellent start, with just 1 defeat in their opening 6. With the departure of Yunis Abdelhamid, Sekou Baradji and Isaac Mbenza it seemed probable that like for like replacements would be needed, but as ever the club have relied on their unrivalled youth system for recruitment.
Nuno da Costa, Angelo Fulgini, Adrien Tameze and Moussa Niakhate have all started every league game having only emerged last season as first team players. The defence has kept 4 clean sheets out of 6, and up front there are no troubles either, with Da Costa bagging 3 already this season and looking like a real prospect.
Whether they can keep it up remains to be seen, but an impressive 2-2 draw away at Stade Oceane last Saturday will certainly give confidence that this run can continue.
5 | Buts, buts, buts
Unlike last season where Famara Diedhiou single handedly made up the discussion of the goalscoring charts, we have a contest already ensuing at this early stage. Malagasy international and summer signing from relegated Creteil Faneva Andriatsima leads the race with 5 in 6 at Sochaux, while Rachid Alioui (Nimes), Khalid Boutaib (Strasbourg), Neal Maupay (Brest) and Jonathan Tinhan (Amiens) are all tied on 4.
Interestingly enough, 4 of these strikers are summer signings, with all of these teams being propelled to the upper echelons of the league by their goals. After a famine of goals in the opening round, the shooting boots are firmly on now in Ligue 2, with just 2 stalemates in gameweek 6!
[Image: France 3]