After a night away from the screen to sit on the results, we can be proud of the outcome of December, despite losing two of the four games. To date all of our defeats have come away from home, and no team are yet to beat us by more than a single goal.




In the game against PSG, we actually managed to win the xG battle 1.93 vs 2.01 and Moussa Sissoko failed to convert a penalty in the 57th minute, which could have seen us secure a point.


Whilst away in Lyon, we again won the xG battle, this time more convincingly 0.83 vs 1.21, with Lucas Perri picking up the MOTM award for making five saves.


You will also note that there were five different scorers spanning the month. However, whilst it is pleasing to see, none of the goals stemmed from our leading scorer, and main scoring threat Mostafa Mohamed.




The Egyptian took five shots across the four games, accumulating an xG of 0.65. considering his current conversion rate sits at 21%, he really should have scored one across this block. This again reminds me of the fact that I am playing with a team in which consistency, and quality are ca little more erratic, with players not being able to deliver on such a frequential basis.




I think Nantes fans IRL would bite my hand off to be in third place at the mid-point. We can be proud of our initial form, which only has seen us pick up two more points than expected. In fact using the expected points table we should be second, it is Monaco who have amassed eight more points than the data points towards, Metz the second highest over performer (+7), whilst Marseille, and Lorient are both underperforming by -4.





Team attacking stats to note


  • Attacking outputs to note
  • possession 44% (16th)
  • Expected goals for 29.62 (2nd)
  • Chances created 73 (2nd)
  • Conversion rate 14% (5th)


Team defending stats to note


  • Conceded 12 (3rd)
  • Expected goals against 14.81 (16th)
  • Shots against 140 (3rd)
  • Opposition PPDA 4.7 (3rd)
  • Final third passes against 46 (2nd)





At this stage of the season, we have played enough minutes to take a deeper dive into the data hub. Knowing that there are four sides in Ligue 1 (PSG, Monaco, Marseille, and Lyon) that on paper should be always in the mix at the business end of the season, we will look to them for a benchmark with regards to a style of play which will lead to success.


Looking at the below stats, the possession rank stands out, now is this something we should be worried about? You will note that all of the big four all hold an above average pass completion ratio, and are attempting more passes than average.




The logic is simple, the more of the ball you hold the less chance the opponent has to score. However, when looking at the defensive efficiency visual, you will see that this isn’t necessarily true to it’s word, with Lyon facing more shots than average, whilst Marseille are also conceding more than average.




Our positioning in the above provides me with assurance that possession of the ball isn’t an issue. We are conceding fewer goals than expected and also facing fewer shots than most.


Looking at the attacking efficiency, we are managing more shots than average per game, and are also more clinical than a lot of the teams.




Is there a way to have more shots, without jeopardising our impressive conversion rate. I know what you are thinking ‘tick the work ball into box’. However, looking at the very first visual, we are a low volume passing team, that is getting the most from verticality, hitting the opponent hard and fast. Working the ball into the box will more than likely take the edge of our attack, as we ask the side to probe, whilst a shoot on sight approach, will lead to more shots from a lower xG, impacting the conversion rate.




The answer, or at least I hope, is in our set piece attacking efficiency, we have a higher expected assist from set pieces than average.




Play for set pieces will encourage every player to attempt to win corners, free kicks, and throw-ins so as to allow the team to bring players forward for dead-ball situations, attempting to command control of the match in that way.




If you aren’t as confident at looking through the visuals, the ‘Assistant Report’ within the squad planner is always a useful tool to guide you tactically. You will see from the below, our main strengths are ‘set piece chance creation’ paired with ‘heading’. You don’t need to be Albert Einstein to work out that more set pieces, should lead to more chance creation, our average xA of 0.17 is HUGE, that is over a clear cut chance per set-piece.





A little insight into the three players that are in the first-team, all under the age of 20.


NATHAN ZEZE (678 minutes)




  • xG overperformance
  • Pass completion ratio
  • Possession lost


BASTIEN MEUPIYOU (402 minutes)




  • Tackle success percentage
  • Pass completion ratio
  • Possession lost






  • Goals assistsed
  • Expected assists
  • Open play key passes
  • Tackles won
  • Tackle success peercentage
  • Pass completion ratio
  • Distance covered






The U19’s are also on a hell of a run, there are a number of talented young prospects playing their football at the club.


  • Herba Guirassy (14 goals) Anthony Kinkela (11 goals)
  • Anthony Kinkela highest average rating (8.00)
  • Alexandre Conti 9 assists (2nd)







  • SteinkelssonFM

    SteinkelssonFM is a distinguished tactician in the Football Manager community, celebrated for bridging the virtual and real football worlds through meticulous analysis. His knack for recreating iconic real-world tactics in-game, like Mário Zagallo’s 1970 Seleção strategy, offers a nostalgic yet innovative gameplay experience. An active blogger on Medium and WordPress, SteinkelssonFM shares his football philosophies and FM adventures, enriching the community with guides on youth development and tactical masterclasses. His contributions extend to the official Football Manager website, affirming his position as a reliable mentor for aspiring virtual football managers. Through his content, SteinkelssonFM continues to blend historical football charm with modern-day FM gameplay.

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