Nimes will not be finishing in a European place this season but the club have every possibility of ending up in the top 10 which would be a fantastic achievement given where they have come from.
Let’s start at the beginning of the season where they were promoted back to Ligue 1 after securing qualification from Ligue 2. Nimes were back in the top flight for the first time since 1993.
A lot of the teams progression is down to coach Bernard Blaquart who joined as head coach in 2015 when the team were struggling in Ligue 2. Blaquart implanted a more attacking style to the team and while it took time for his initial players to adapt to their new style it paid off in the end and after 3 years Nimes defied the odds to make it back to Ligue 1.
What has been impressive about Blaquart has been that the majority of his managerial career has been based in the lower leagues in France but he has struck up a chemistry with his players here and is now a well respected figure. The fans adore him too because win, lose or draw they know they will be entertained. Take the clubs 4-2 loss to PSG earlier in the season at home. The players were applauded from the pitch- they had taken the game to the French champions, had lead in it too, before succumbing to some naïve play and tiredness, but they didn’t just lie down and take the defeat like some clubs would have.
It’s incredible to think that Nimes spent just 2.7m euros on players before the season started and all of that went on one player- Denis Bouanga from Lorient. Bouanga has played just 15 times this season scoring 4 goals but injury and fitness has set him back in his debut season for the club.
But where Nimes have been clever has been loaning players from bigger clubs such as Lyon’s Jordan Ferri and Faitout Maouassa from Rennes. Nimes best performing player has been Rachid Alioui the forward who has amassed just 19 points this season in Ligue 1 Fantasy Football- but points have been deducted for most of the players due to yellow cards and a lack of clean sheets.
Nimes have still been able to win 13 of their games overall, which isn’t a great record but at the beginning of the season finishing 17th would have been seen as a success or at the very least a building block for the next one. Nimes have done superbly well, although it is important that they have the funds and spend them to be able to remain in Ligue 1 for the following season.
For now Nimes are one of the best success stories in Ligue 1 following promotion. If anything even when they lose they do it well.
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