FC Nantes – Match Report vs FC Metz 22/11/20

In Sunday’s early kick-off FC Nantes hosted FC Metz in this mid-table Ligue 1 clash. Thanks to a tremendous run of form that coincided with the reinstatement of Frédéric Antonetti, Metz had the chance to move into the top four (at least temporarily) with a win here, whilst Nantes went into the game having had some struggles with form and an outbreak of COVID-19 within the club, but with high hopes of getting back to winning ways. In the end, the spoils were shared following a 1-1 draw. Perhaps Nantes will feel aggrieved by the outcome given the way in which the game panned out.

During the first half especially, the home side played some very impressive football that saw them begin to control proceedings. Their grip on the match seemed to tighten considerably when Kolo Muani fired home to give them the lead after half an hour. However, just as it seemed Nantes would head into the half time break with a lead, having played well, Metz were gifted a controversial penalty for handball which was dispatched by Leya Iseka to level the game.

The second half was more closely contested, in terms of chances created, with Metz stepping up their game, whilst Nantes struggled to replicate the free-flowing football that they had exhibited at times during the first period. Not for want of trying from either side, the game stumbled to a draw which Metz will be the most pleased with, as they were able to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 8 games, whilst Nantes will be disappointed with the result, but will draw positives from parts of the first half performance in particular.

Nantes set up in a 4-2-3-1 system that looked to utilise the pace and skill of Bamba and Coco in wide areas, whilst allowing Blas the freedom to roam from attacking midfield. In the absence of the more playmaker type deeper midfielder in Louza, both Abeid and Touré occupied the holding midfield roles, providing defensive security, but perhaps lacking the passing range to unlock the Metz defence at times in the second half. Special credit must be given to right back Sébastien Corchia who put on a tireless display that involved setting up Kolo Muani for the game’s opening goal.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Ludovic Blas

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 31/12/1997
  • Current Club: Nantes
  • Career: Guingamp, Nantes
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Centre Midfield / Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Ludovic Blas was arguably one of the best players on the pitch in my opinion, providing a huge creative influence in the middle and final thirds during Nantes’ attacks. The young Frenchman was deployed in attacking midfielder, but was given a licence to roam and involve himself in interchanges all over the pitch. The midfielder likes to try and take on his opponents and uses his excellent close control, skill and body feints to beat defenders and carry the ball forward. In this match he completed 8 dribbles, 6 more than the next highest, and displayed his ability to ghost past opposition players and pose a threat going forward. In the first half especially, he stoodout as one of the most influential players on his team.

However, in the second period he faded in and out of the game a bit and occasionally struggled to find a way through the Metz defence, taking too long on the ball at times, whilst the rest of his team was also too static. Blas cuts a composed figure on the ball and was full of confidence in this match, at one stage juggling the ball in the opposition penalty area in an effort to work the space for a shot that was eventually tipped behind for a corner. His movement allowed him to evade defenders and pop up in key areas to link up with teammates and create space in the final third, whilst he wasn’t afraid to drop deep and receive the ball and act as more of a playmaker in the absence of the likes of Louza and Chirivella behind him.

Despite his natural creative instincts, the 22 year old was also relatively efficient in possession, maintaining a 92% pass completion rate and showing a willingness to play simple passes to teammates in better positions than himself rather than trying to do it alone. In the final third, he was creative and looked to make things happen, finding one key pass, seeing one shot saved, another fly wide and another blocked, however, this is the area he could have most improved upon, and by getting on the scoresheet more regularly and setting up teammates to score more often, he can take his game to the next level.

Defensively, Blas was not given many duties in this team, and although he is capable of being aggressive in the challenge and fighting for possession, the midfielder was not particularly enthusiastic when tracking back and was much more comfortable when he or his team had the ball. Having said that, his positioning was adequate as he sought to cut passing lanes and not allow the Metz midfielders much time on the ball, but overall he was quite average defensively for a player in his position.

The 22 year old is a player who I have covered several times before for Target Scouting (including a detailed player report that you can read here) and I am a big fan of his. In this match he reminded me of his quality and if he can start to add more direct goal contributions consistently, then it won’t be long before he’s ready to take the next step in his career.

Rating – A1

Randal Kolo Muani

Kolo Muani in action for FC Nantes.

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 05/12/1998
  • Current Club: Nantes
  • Career: Nantes, Boulogne (L)
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Kolo Mauani put in an exciting performance as Nantes’ lone striker in this game, displaying his ability to hold up the ball and bring others into play, as well as putting in the hard yards for his team and, most importantly, he was able to get a goal. At 6’2 and with a strong build, the striker is more than capable of physcially competing in shoulder to shoulder duels whilst he is also a handful in the air. He was tricky to deal with for the Metz defenders, and was not afraid to put his weight about in order to get in front of his opponent or get to the ball first.

Despite his size, the youngster worked hard to quickly close down the opposition, cut passing lanes and battle for possession, as he put in the hard yards in order to help his team from the front when defending. For such a unit of striker, the France U21 international also displayed impressive close control to roll defenders or hold up the ball with his back to the opponent and retain possession to allow his team to get up the pitch. In the final third, he took up good positions to attack the ball, but his main issue this season has been finishing and this seemed like it could be the case once again when he blasted over following a good move. However, he didn’t let this get him down, and he timed his run perfectly into the area to emphatically lash home Corchia’s cut back and give his team the lead.

Similarly to Blas and the rest of the Nantes team, Kolo Muani was less effective in the second half, but he didn’t let his energy levels drop and carried on working hard to make himself a thorn in the side of the Metz defenders. Aerially he was useful for his team at both ends (aside from one missed clearance where he seemed to mistime it horribly), and he won two thirds of his aerial duels on the day.

On the whole, it was an impressive performance from the Nantes front man, who remains quite raw, but certainly has the potential to kick on this season, especially if he is able to maintain his place in the starting eleven with performances like this one. His recent call-ups to the prestigious and highly competitive French U21 national side would also suggest that he is highly regarded within France and has a bright future ahead of him.

Rating – A2

Alban Lafont

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 23/01/1999
  • Current Club: Nantes, on loan from Fiorentina
  • Career: Toulouse, Fiorentina, Nantes (L)
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Preferred foot: Right

Alban Lafont had a relatively quiet game between the sticks (especially in the first half), Metz only scoring via a penalty that went in off the post, otherwise making all the saves that would have been expected of him. He was quick off his line early on to claim a loose cross and he seemed to maintain his concentration throughout, showing confidence with the ball at his feet, primarily electing to play short passes to the defenders in front of him. He was comfortable on the ball and was always willing to provide an option for his defenders should they come under pressure.

In the second period, Lafont came under more pressure, and got down quickly to make one save low to his right, however, he did parry it into the danger zone in front of the goal and he was fortunate that it fell to the feet of a teammate. He made another good save after a shot from a cut back, however the finish was poor and directed straight at the goalkeeper who was able to divert the ball away from goal. It was a fairly solid display from Lafont, who carries on adding more experience to his incredible goalkeeping CV for a player of his age, as even if he is yet to be the finished product for the highest level, with every top flight game he plays it’s likely that he will only continue to improve.

Rating – B1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: