Lille OSC – Season 2021/22
The high third place at the end of the previous season fills everyone with the club with optimism. Jake Sullivan began to get more and more freedom to lead the team his way.
As in the previous season, almost all incoming transfers, except one, were made before the season started. This is a rule that the coach adheres to because of the desire to team up new players before the new season. A total of 11 players were brought in. Most of them with a view to the future. The players who were bought for the first squad were:
- Agustin Almendra, 21 years, bought from Argentine Boca for competition in the middle of the field
- Lucas Tousart, 24 years, due to the promotional price requested by Lyon
This year’s transfers did not burden the budget as much as a year ago. It was influenced by high sales in the previous window and promotion to the Champions League. Thanks to this, there was no need to sell key players. After all, after analyzing the entire season, Jake Sullivan knew which players were not suitable for this club and decided to say goodbye to them. Outgoing transfers worth mentioning were:
- Kevin Bonifazi, who was sold to Everton for €11 milion, after only 4 matches
- Timothy Weah, €4.1 milion to Al-Jazira
In order not to block the development of two young stars, Sergio Gomez went on loan to Borussia M’gladbach, and Florent Da Silva on load to Nurnberg.
The 2021/22 summer transfer window was not very intense. The manager wanted to focus on stabilization, the development of players whom he already knew very well after 2 seasons. Not having to match half of the first squad gave high hopes for the upcoming season.
First part of season
The league season started very slowly for Lille in terms of the number of points scored. Already in the first 4 matches there were 2 matches without a goal. However, we managed to keep a clean sheet in these matches. Despite such a start, the first half of the season was closed with more points (43) than a year ago. The results were as follows:
- 13 Lille wins
- 4 draws
- Only 2 losses
The key month was December and the results gave great hope for the second half of the season. The following matches took place on 4 league matches:
- PSG, home game, 3-2, Jake Sullivan‘s first win over PSG
- Marseille, home game, 4-1, French runner-up 2 years ago
- Bordeaux, away game, 2-0, a team that is always difficult to play against
Apart from a good result in the league, these six months have shown that the Champions League is probably still too high level for this French club. Lille joined the group with SL Benfica, Chelsea, Dynamo Kyiv. They got only 5 points. The only victory was the most surprising result, a victory over Chelsea (1-0). Lille managed to take 3rd place in the group, which resulted in promotion to the knockout stage of the Europa League.
Second part of season
The second part of the season was also very good. Little fluctuatuions in the form of key players thanks to the aforementioned stabilization. For a couple of turns, Lille took 2nd place and the leader’s place at their fingertips. A 4-0 victory against PSG away gave a chance for the championship, the first in 11 years. However, 3 stumbles at the end of the season took the chance for great success:
- Saint-Etienne, 0-0
- Nimes, 2-2
- Marseilles, 1-5!
Not only there were not enough points to take 1st place, but due to a worse goal difference, having the same number of points as PSG and Monaco, Lille was only 4th at the end of the season.
In the French Cup Lille managed to reach the third round, in which PSG was better for the first time this season.
The European Cups in this part of the season ended very quickly, already in the first round, where the aggregate score against KRC Genk was 3-5.
This season, Lille’s game was conducted by two players:
- Gonzalo Villar, 42 matches, average 7.31
- Renato Sanches, 38 matches, average 7.31
They played a key role in achieving a good result in the league. They were supported by Lille’s new acqusition, Almendra, who has average 7.12 in 32 matches (as many as 17 as a substitute). Villar is on the list of the best players for the third consecutive season. On the other hand, the entire set of midfielders on this list shows that this formation region is the most important in Jake Sullivan’s tactics. To quote the famous quote from the most successful manager in history, sir Alex Ferguson, “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” Jake Sullivan has to be praised for laying the entire line of defense, with each player this season exceeding the average rating of 7.0.
- Kelvin Amian, right-back, 44 matches, average 7.08
- Dario Maresic, center-back, 37 matches, average 7.10
- Gabriel, center-back, 36 matches, average 7.06
- Domagoj Bradaric, 45 matches, average 7.21
The goal scoring this season has spread to a large number of players. The only players who have exceeded the total of 10 goals in all competitions are:
- Victor Osimhen, 46 matches, 13 goals
- Jonathan Ikone, 43 matches, 12 goals
Jake Sullivan can be praised after this season for perfectly positioning a certain line of defense and a very well-functioning mid. Only 4th place may look bad at first glance, but is it enough to notice the point progression compared to the previous season and very strong rivals this season. The management board can certainly be pleased to see that Jake Sullivan introduces young players to the first team, such as Exauce Boula, who received a total of 23 chances in the first team and scored as many as 9 goals in them. We can expect any cup to be won next season.
FM Tool usage
FM Tool was first used to analyze footballers from all over the club after a dramatic start to the season after a 0-2 match against Monaco. (in the first 7 games, 2 wins, 4 draws, 1 lose, goal balance 7-4). Using the tool found the best positions and roles for all players. The most important changes regarding the 1st squad:
- Victor Osimhen, in the first 7 meetings only 1 goal. Assigning him the role of a Pressing Forward both in tactics and training contributed to scoring 12 goals in the remaining matches.
- Yusuf Yazici, in the first 7 games only 1 assist. Moving him to the center of the field to play the role of the Advanced Playmaker rediscovered this player for Lille. 6 assists, 1 goal and 2 man of the match.
- Agustin Almendra, retrained from an Advanced Playmaker to a Deep Lying Playmaker, resulting in an average score of 7.17 over 32 matches.
More important than matching the roles of the first-team players is finding the best position and role for the younger players to properly guide their training. Here you should distinguish players such as:
- Exauce Mpembele Boula, a 20-year-old talent who played in the reserves as the main forward. The use of FM Tool allowed to direct the training towards the role of the Inside Forward. This change allow him to score 5 of the 6 goals this season from that position.
The ability to save attributes and statistics from any moment of the season in the application allows for subsequent detailed, clear analysis in which parts the players have increased or decreased. This helps in making transfer decisions and decisions regarding the shape of the first squad. A comparison of the records from the beginning of this season with its end shows the following conclusions:
- Exauce Mpembele Boula is developing even better than expected from him. increasing as many as 21 attributes.
- Almost the entire line of defense (Amian – 6 increased attributes, Gabriel – 14, Djalo – 14, Bradaric – 8). Not even one attribute decreased for each of the players mentioned.
Agustin Almendra looks the worst after the whole season, regardless of players over 35, whose attributes are naturally deteriorating, with as many as 16 attributes deteriorating, with only 1 attribute increased.
The same analysis can also be performed for the Reserve team and Youth team. The following deserve distinction:
- Sergio Gomez (27! increased attributes. This proves how much this boy really cares about making it to the first Lille squad.)
- Badiashile (23! increased attributes.)
In the case of the Youth team, basically the entire attribute table is green, which means that every player has made progress.