SM Caen – Season 2 Review and Statistical Analysis (Ligue 1)

Welcome to our End of Season review and Data Hub Statistical Analysis from our 7th placed finish in Ligue 1 this season. As I’ve said before, it was one hell of a season for us. From favourites to be relegated to a 7th place finish with very little money is something to be proud of, so let’s take a look back at our season.

The new signings bedded in well and and put in some decent performances.

  • Gerzino Nyamsi – £450k from Strasbourg – 29 apps 5 goals 1 assist – 7.27 rating
  • Chrislain Matsima – loan from Monaco – 32 apps 3 goals 4 assists – 7.01 rating
  • Yoan Cardinale – free transfer – 40 apps – 6.96 rating
  • Sergio Diaz – £1.5m from Austin – 25 apps 14 goals 4 assists – 6.93 rating
  • Joao Basso – £950k from Arouca – 17 apps 3 goals 2 assists – 6.83 rating
  • Florent Da Silva – loan from Lyon – 14 apps 1 goal 3 assists – 6.78 rating
  • Lamine Gueye – £95k from Metz – 8 apps 3 goals 1 assist – 6.73 rating
  • Karol Fila – £375k from Strasbourg – 8 apps 0 goals 5 assists – 6.65 rating

Our biggest win was the 12-0 victory against SCO Roubaix 59 in the ninth round of the French Cup and our match to remember was the 1-0 away win at Nantes. Not sure why the 7-1 home victory against Nice wasn’t selected or the 7-0 away win at Bordeaux???????

Club reputation stayed the same over the course of the season but financially, we have made improvements.

Merchandising also improved with £929k of sales made over the last year with 7695 shirts being sold, Deminguet, Gioacchini and Sergio Diaz were the top selling shirts.

Club Awards

  • Fans Player Of The Season – Jessy Deminguet
  • Young Player Of The Season – Amadou Onana
  • Signing Of The Season – Gerzino Nyamsi
  • Goal Of The Season – Chris Mazy
  • Top Goalscorer – Sergio Diaz – 14 goals
  • Most Assists – Jessy Deminguet – 13 assists
  • Most Player Of The Match – Jessy Deminguet – 6 Awards
  • Highest Rating – Jessy Deminguet – 7.4
  • Most Passes Completed Per 90 – Gerzino Nyamsi – 56 per 90

Club Record Breakers

  • Most Goals By A Player In A Match – Sergio Diaz – 4 goals
  • Most Goals In A League Match – Jessy Deminguet – 3 goals
  • Most Assists By A Player In A Season – Jessy Deminguet – 13 assists
  • Worst Discipline – Vandermersch – 11 yellow and 1 red card
  • Youngest Player – Chris Mazy – 16 years 4 days
  • Youngest Goalscorer – Chris Mazy – 16 years 80 days

Massive congratulations to all our award winners and record breakers.

Squad Statistics

17 goals and 29 assists from our defensive unit this season, 9 of those assists coming from our centre backs showing me the value of the wide centre backs.

Defensive Stats

21 goals and 26 assists from our central midfield players (inc CAM), Deminguet, Sakhi, Lepenant and Da Silva is a decent return considering the quality of the players vs the rest of the division.

Midfield Stats

Our 3 main strikers used this season where Diaz, Mendy and Gioacchini and a combined return of 30 goals between them is not bad I guess. We definitely need more quality up front but the most disappointing stat is they only contributed 5 assists between the 3 of them, our CB’s had more assists than my strikers.

Attackers Stats

Here is our overall squad statistics for the season.

Overall Squad Stats

Tactical Breakdown

I stuck with the 5212 all season as I loved the ball playing defender/wide centre back combination but tweaked the CM positions and CAM two thirds of the way through the season as I felt we weren’t creating enough chances, so I went with the CAM as an AP (was SS) and central midfield to a BBM (was DLP) and MEZ attack (was MEZ support) and it definitely gave us a bit more going forward but possibly left us slightly more exposed at the back.

Our 5212 Formation

So you can see from the above image that when using this formation we create an average of 1 clear cut chance per game and concede only 1 clear cut chance against us every 2 games so defensively, we are pretty sound and this should get better when the calibre of player improves. But having only 1 clear cut chance every 92 minutes on average is something we need to better with and an area to look at improving in the transfer market.

Just like last season, the majority of our goals come from the central areas, which is no surprise as we have wing backs pushing up to the by-line and crossing the ball in. We are down on headers scored this season, 10 this year vs 15 last year. We missed the aerial ability of Nuno Da Costa who went back to Nottm Forest after his loan spell ended at the end of last season so this is an area we could look at improving.

14 of our goals (the most) were scored between the 80th and 90th minutes which tells me we are either chasing a goal, late in a game, or we are hitting teams on the counter when playing a cautious mentality when trying to protect a lead.

Our assists come mainly from through balls and crosses which is no real surprise considering the tactic we play but when we do attack the wings it is mainly down the right side where 19 assists have come from vs only 7 on the left side.

The goals we concede are pretty much exclusively from the centre of the penalty area but if you look at the times which we tend to concede then you’ll see we have conceded 7 goals in the first 15 minutes, 7 goals between 16th and 30th minutes and also 7 goals between 76th and 90th minute and finally 6 goals during injury time. Maybe we need to start the game with a defensive mentality and adjust it from 15th minute onwards depending on the opposition and also to adjust formation/roles to more defensive from 80th minute if we are trying to protect a lead.

Opposition assists are mainly through through balls (15) and crosses (9) but 14 are from set pieces (7 corners and 7 free kicks), this is an area we can improve on by revisiting our defensive set piece placements and make some changes.

Team/Player Performance Vs League

Top Scorers

Our return of 61 goals over the season is a decent amount of goals for the quality or should I say, lack of quality, we have in our squad. Lille only scored 3 more than us over the season but manged to finish 5th showing that despite only 64 goals scored, they conceded less than we did enabling them to win more games and finish in the European places.

Goals Conceded

48 goals conceded over the season is nowhere near low enough to effectively challenge for Europe. Lille conceded only 37 goals, 11 less than us, which despite only scoring 64 meant they were able to pick up more wins than us and secure 5th place.

Most Shots

The above graph shows we had 547 shots on goal, which is a very high amount, the downside to that was only 40% of those shots were on target. Lille on the other hand had 519 shots but they had 47% of those shots on target. more shots on target = more goals scored. We need to be more clinical with our shooting and up our % of shots hitting the target. The 40% shots on target was only high enough to place us 18th with Monaco 19th also on 40% and Angers with 37%.

Pass Completion

Our pass completion ratio of 90% was good enough for 5th place, completing 16171 passes, well below Nimes who completed 26149 passes with a pass completion rate of 93%.

Possession Stats

52% possession for us over the season is not bad, Nimes averaging the highest with 60% and completing the most passes at with 26149 with an accuracy of 93% shows they were great at holding onto the ball but an 11th place finish shows scoring and conceding was a problem.

Possession Lost

We managed to keep possession really well and finished 2nd in the possession lost table with 2763 possession lost. In comparison, Nice lost possession the most with 3238 despite them finishing 3rd in the table.

Clear Cut Chances Created

109 CCC created, with the lack of real quality this squad possesses vs the teams above us, is a pretty good return but just shows the lack of quality finishing is costing us.

Key Passes

Jessy Deminguet provided 170 key passes over the season, 25 more than 2nd placed Neymar, showing just how important he is to our team.

Headers Won

Great to see Onana and Nyamsi in the top 10 for headers won showing the improvements we made in that department.


11 assists for Deminguet over the league season, someway short of Neymar’s 20 but a good return from our talisman.

Clear Cut Chances Created

21 CCC created from Deminguet, outperforming anyone else on our team.

Tackles Won Ratio

Great to see Nyamsi as number 1 for tackles won ratio at 95% including 4 key tackles. He has been a valuable asset since coming in on loan from Monaco.

Tackles per 90

Fabulous to see 16 year old Chris Mazy finishing 3rd for tackles per 90 minutes with 3.20 showing he can be a real superstar for us. Chris also finished joint 7th for blocks with 49 from his 20 starts showing his defensive value.

Data Hub – Team Performance

So that’s some of our key stats for the season but now it’s time to really drill down the team and player data and look at the areas we did well in and the areas that we need to improve either through training or in the transfer market.

xG League Table

Based on the xG itself, we would of finished 4th but that’s not how football works. Our xG, xG against and xpts are all as expected meaning attacking wise we didn’t outperform or underperform what was expected and likewise defensively, only conceding 1 more than xGA expected us to.

Team Attacking

The attacking stats actually read quite well. 1.61 goals per game vs the league average of 1.39 (.21 fewer than Caen) and our xG of 1.59 goals per game is .25 more than the league average of 1.34. We average 1.72 more shots per game (14.39 shots per game) than the league average of 12.68 but the one area we do know major improvement is needed is our shots on target – 40.77% vs the league average of 41.58. Our dribbles per game are above the league average with 12.53 per game with cross completion at 25.79% and our pass completion ratio of 90.69% is 1.79% more than the average.

Team Defending

We conceded 1.26 goals per game which was lower than the league average as was our expected goals against at 1.21. Tackles attempted 15.79 vs 16.71 for the league and a tackles won ration of 80.67% which is slightly better than the rest of the division. Our interceptions at 15.92 are some way behind the average of 17.44, blocks outperform the league with 9.29 vs 7.98 and clearances are 36.55 per game.

Shooting Stats

The graph says we average between 14 and 15 shots a game with between 11 and 12% conversion rate which puts us just in the aggressive shooting, clinical shooting box. As we identified at the beginning, Lille had less shots than us but had more shots on target and are therefore more clinical in front of goal.

Shots Per Game

This image shows more clearly what I’m saying, our shooting stats put us in the aggressive shooting/wasteful shooting box but look at Nice. They averaged 1 less shot per game than we did but are at 50% shots on target vs our 40% which shows in the xG league table where their xG was 52.2 but they finished +16 on that and secured 3rd place.

Passing Stats

So our passing stats are not anything we didn’t already know. We make fewer passes than most teams but don’t misplace many of those passes. I would like to up our passes per game and play more of a tiki taka style but not sure 5 at the back suits that?

Possession Stats

The possession stats show we don’t win the ball back as often as I’d like but we are reliable with the ball and don’t lose possession that often.

No surprise to see that possession gained is mostly between the edge of our penalty area and the half way line due to our standard defensive line, 25% of the possession gains were below our 18 yard line which is a concern. this means we are allowing the opposition to much time on the ball in dangerous situations. In our first season in Lihue 2 we had lost 18% of possession below our own 18 yard line so it’s great to see this is now 17%, it’s still too high and something I want to see drastically reduced next season.

Tackling Stats

Our tackling stats improved vs last season, we average around 16 tackles per game with a win % of just over 80% which is pretty good. As the quality of defender increases then I expect this to improve again.

Aerial Stats

As a team we don’t attempt a large amount of headers per game, around 69, bit we do have one of the best headers won ratio in the division at around 68%.

As a team, there is plenty of positives from the team data hub and also some areas we can improve in. Shooting accuracy is a big one for me and I’d like to pass the ball around more so perhaps we remove the run with ball option this season.

Data Hub – Player Performance


So we made the difficult decision to look for a new number 1 this season. Nothing against Loic Badiashile, he did great for us in Ligue 2 but I felt he wasn’t good enough for Ligue 1 and I needed someone reliable in goal so we brought in Yoan Cardinale.

Yoan had an excellent season for us and made plenty of fabulous saves over the course of the season. He saves most shots and is a reliable number 1 for us, the info says he prevented a lot more expected goals than average which is exactly what we brought him on to do.


Defence – Possession

You can see from this graph that most of our defenders don’t win the ball that often and are loose in possession. Our 3 best passers of the ball, Onana, Basso and Matsima are all sat in the first two boxes so are more reliable in possession and pass the ball more accurately than the rest of our defenders.

We already know that we have improved in the heading department this season and the above image shows our 3 centre backs in the lots of headers/strong headers box showing we are solid aerially in the middle, the players at the bottom of the image are my wing backs and are not expected to effectively challenge in the air.

Defenders – Tackling

What surprises me about this graph is that my wing backs outperform my centre backs in the tackling stats. The graph says the centre backs average 1 tackle per game yet the wing backs average 3 per game, I get that the wingbacks operate higher up the pitch so will engage the opposition in their own half as well as in our half which could explain these stats. even so, 2 of our main centre backs in Basso and Onana only win between 69% and 72% of tackles respectively which needs improving.

Defenders – Assists

The wingbacks provide far more key passes than the centre backs, Karol Fila could of been excellent in this stat if injury didn’t reduce him to only 8 starts this season.

I’m fully aware that passing is not a strong point of our defence, as shown in the possession lost graph. As we are able to attract better defenders then this should improve but again I have to ask myself if playing out from the back is suitable for these players?


Midfield – Possession

In general, the midfielders are pretty reliable in possession. Deminguet sits in the loose in possession box but as our main creator and the person who most of our play goes through, he can be forgiven for some loose passes.

Midfield – Assists

We know Deminguet is our principle assist maker but a major concern is Sakhi in the highly creative/low assister box. He is our CAM and needs to be providing plenty of assists over the season, it could be that he is creating plenty of chances for our strikers but they are failing to put those chances away.

Sakhi and Deminguet were are best scoring midfielders but all of them are wasteful when it comes to shooting. We need more goals from our midfield to take the pressure off the strikers who are not the best quality.

Midfield – Tackling

Tackling stats are not bad, always room for improvement and this area is no exception.

Midfield – Passing

Passing stats were what I was expecting, some are better than others but again, the main concern is Sakhi. As a CAM, he needs to be the link up player between midfield and attack and ensure he is keeping the ball and playing passes to teammates which it doesn’t look like he is capable of doing.


Sergio Diaz stands out as our best finisher at the club with high scoring and clinical shooting, he doesn’t take as many shots as the other forwards but they are a higher % on target vs his attacking teammates.

Aerial – Attackers

We had already identified that we were not great headers up front and this graph confirms those findings.

Assists – Attackers

Again, we have already identified that our forwards do not create many assists for team mates and provide a very low amount of key passes. Am I using the right roles for the formation? Can I change their roles to get more out of them?

Passing – Attackers

Passing is a real issue with my forwards which would explain why they have low assists and key passes. It needs changing/fixing ASAP.

So with our team and player analysis complete we now have an idea on the areas we need to improve.

Data Analysis

The difficulty will be attracting the sort of player we need to progress the club, we have some super talented youngsters at the club but they are a few years away from being ready to step up to the first team, with the exception of Chris Mazy.

It’s going to be an interesting summer.

Thanks for taking the time to follow our journey with SM Caen, I really appreciate your support. Please follow me on twitter @THEFMACADEMY1 to post any questions or give me any feedback on these posts.

FM academy

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