AS Saint-Étienne: 2018/19 Season Review
Let’s take a gander at the players who were signed to replace those leaving the club, either returning to their respective parent club (loan) or moving on permanently for one reason or other. The aim here is to replace those leaving with players of greater ability who in turn have youth on their side.
Buy low, sell high..!!
Sporting Director – Borussia Dortmund
We decided to go with a two-column model. Very young, highly-skilled players, but also established, internationally-experienced ones.
The Borussia Dortmund model of sustainability is one that we are looking to mirror here at AS Saint-Étienne, as we previously touched on in acte I.
- Hernani – Anchor defend
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Inside Forward/Winger attack (both flanks)
- Rémy Cabella – Inside Forward attack (left)
All three were vital cogs in our machine and key to how we played to achieve a third-placed finish in season one. They also departed our club and had to be replaced.
Signing Remy Cabella on a permanent basis was essential. He became a talismanic figure for us last season and one of the main reasons we reached such dizzying heights.We brought Levi Garcia in from Eredivisie side, AZ Alkmaar with the Trinidadian having been given high praise indeed from Dutch legend, Marco Van Basten. Aksel Aktas will be understudy to Jonathan Bamba (23).
Aktas himself being touted as the next Michel Platini by some in the media. Massive boots fo fill but, we’re delighted to have a young player with such ability at Saint-Étienne. Hernani was undoubtedly used as a screen for our defence, with his primary role being to break up and stop attacks in central areas.
This season, however, Marcos Llorente with providing all that and more..!! At 22 years old, Llorente possesses all the attributes accredited to any of the top holding midfielders around Europe. He’ll be there to win the ball and find those eye of the needle passes to split a defence. Sitting deep and dictating the tempo of the game. This is without question the meanest piece of business we’ve been able to complete this summer. (Potentially signing of FM18).
We must ask the question;
Q. Have we strengthened?
Kenny Rocha Santos
That brings us on to this man… In acte II, I went into some detail about how we were looking to develop young players from within the club. Well, the cream of those players at the moment happens to be seventeen years old, Kenny Rocha Santos. Kenny couldn’t have asked for a better tutor in Andrea Pirlo, so let’s have a look at how my young protégé has developed since those initial six months with Andrea.
Now with six International caps under his belt, and still only seventeen years old. You’ll also notice that Kenny’s personality has advanced, from balanced to fairly professional. There we can see the Andrea Pirlo influence.
Love little mini goals like this in FM
Having now accumulated a season and a half worth of matches – most of which followed a rotation plan with the outstanding, Vincent Pajot. Valued at a cool £5 million and with a dozen Internationals to his name.
Get tae fuck, Marco..!!
The end of season two then, and Kenny Rocha Santos is more than capable of winning a football match on his own. Valued at £6.25 million and at nineteen years old, was also in contention to win the prestigious ‘European Golden Boy’ award. The thing that actually pleases me most here is, his personality. He’s back to being fairly professional.
Aside from the fantastic free-flowing football we’ve displayed on a regular basis – perhaps the most pleasing part of this season was to witness European Cup nights again at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. With this being the first since ASSE last won the Ligue 1 title, way back in the 1981/82 season. Saint-Étienne losing to Dynamo Berlin in the First Preliminary Round.
So, to have UEFA Champions League nights here under the lights is just magnificent..!! We were dealt a tough hand and finished in a more than a respectable third place. Beating AC Milan, both home and away. In the Europa League, Borussia Mönchengladbach have brushed aside in the First Knockout Round. Only for us to be swatted away by a brilliant Chelsea side in the next round.
All in all, I’m more than happy with our showing in Europe this season.
After pipping our bitter rivals, Lyon to third place on the final days of last season – could we go one better this time around, and split the big two in AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain. That initial part of the season where you’re trying to settle in new players and bed them into your style of play can be tough and, the first six league fixtures of the season left much to be desired…
A particularly tough start to the league campaign but, we must take points from our closest rivals in and around the Champions League slots if we are to indeed move on to that next level as a team.
So, let’s just say, we’ve gone on to have another magical season in Ligue 1..!!
The team really developing and working as a unit. I love watching the little combinations and partnerships that are created over time. Much like the midfield trio above.
This isn’t good for the auld ticker..!! I’ll be back on the fags at this rate..!!!
Looking at the remaining five fixtures, I’d say we have the easier run in. The league could potentially be decided when the Monegasces entertain PSG at Stade Louis II on the penultimate day of the season.
And there we have it… Paris Saint-Germain have already secured the Ligue 1 title, however, we have just leapfrogged Monaco in second place.
YAAAAASSSSSSSS…!!! Right, get the fags out..!!!
We are now one match away from reaching another of our milestones. All we need to do is win this match and we cement ourselves as the second best team in France. Splitting PSG and Monaco, especially when you consider the riches the two clubs now have at their disposal, would be a monumental achievement.
Derby matches do not come any bigger than this particular clash..!! Everything is at stake for us but, Lyon will be fighting for pride and, ultimately the satisfaction of destroying our dreams of finishing second.
We’ve done it..!!! Second place is ours and really rubber stamps our aims for year on year progression. To actually have it in the history books that we’ve managed third and then second place finishes is nothing short of miraculous.
I’m going to leave it there, for now, ladies and gentleman…
I hope you’re enjoying our journey so far and continue to join us when time permits, of course. Happy New year to you and yours.
Take care and Allez les Verts !
- fags = cigarettes
- heid = head