Guingamp are not normally a football team that claim many column inches- for one any person that isn’t French can’t even pronounce their name, but the club who hail from north western France have caused way more than ripples in France’s Ligue 1.
After just 3 games the club are in 2nd place and it’s only goal difference that separates them from 1st place which Monaco currently hold. Now of course it is very true that the season is young and predictably Guingamp may just drop off but that can’t discount from a cracking opening period.
What makes Guingamp’s start so good is that they earned 4 points already from the likes of Monaco and Marseille. On the opening day of the season the club also known as En Avant de Guingamp Côtes-d’Armor -that’s quite something to swallow- drew 2-2 away to Monaco.
The following week they beat Marseille 2-1, both games they were supposed to lose and both they won. Last weekend they easily overcame Nancy 2-0 and now sit right near the top of the league.
Guingamp are managed by a black manager which should be applauded given the lack of black managers in football. Antoine Kombouare is well known in Ligue 1. He was a defender and was part of the PSG team who won Ligue 1 in 1994.
At 52 he has a decent trophy haul too. Just before PSG were taken over and lavished with riches the former player was announced the clubs manager. The club didn’t perform to expectations but Kombouare did lead them to a Coupe de France win in 2010 and the following season they reached the final again.
Before his PSG venture he led Valenciennes to the Ligue 2 title and promotion to Ligue 1 back in 2006. He also helped Lens get promoted.
Kombouare is well aware of sorting out Guingamp’s defensive woes and on the evidence of the first few weeks he has done a sterling job. Not only have Guingamp progressed (they kept their first clean sheet of the season against Nancy) they are also scoring goals. Indeed they have scored at least 2 goals in each of their games which will always give them a chance.
Now the question is how far can the club go? The realistic proposition has to be to try and finish in the top half of the league- and get the most points the club has got in Ligue 1. The next level is to qualify for Europe.
Dreamers out there will point to Leicester City and a shock title for Guingamp- but in a long hard grinding season in France that will most probably be above them. However there is no reason that the club can’t continue this fantastic run of form.