Undoubtedly, the football season in both Europe and French Ligue 1 was full of surprises. When it comes to France’s national Championship, OGC Nice are probably considered the biggest surprise, as the team was considered as an unlikely high-flyer, but it currently occupies the 4th place on the table.
Still, OGC Nice are not the only one in Ligue 1 that emerged on the table of the country’s Championship. Up to date, Stade Malherbe Caen are third, and Angers SCO occupy the fifth place, which made them true revelations so far.
However, despite the fact how much credit the manager of Caen – Patrice Garande, and the head coach of Angers – Stephane Moulins, deserve, it is the team of Nice that probably should get the major focus.
As a matter of fact, it is exactly OGC Nice that have managed to score more than 30 goals in a total of 14 matches – a result that has been surpassed only by some of the first-class European leagues’ clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The team’s goal ratio is even more impressive, considering the fact that it is equal to 17 in 7 matches only.
The question is how did Nice, which was regarded as a team struggling for form over the last season and finished on 11th position of the table, manage to reach the 4th place, which makes it a challenger for a place at the Champions League. The success of OGC Nice is considered to be based on several reasons.
First, Claude Puel seems to have found what looks like the ideal recipe for success, filling the team with experienced players such as Mathieu Bodmer, Simon Pouplin, Romain Genevois and Hatem Ben Arfa. Mathieu Bodmer is 33 years old. He has previously been part of the teams of Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain and plays an important part considering his defensive and team-play skills.
The experience of the older players seems to be merging perfectly with the talent of the youngsters, including the 21-year old Alexandre Mendy, the 20-year-olds Mouez Hasseen and Vincent Koziello, as well as Olivier Boscagli, who is 18. All of them, especially Koziello, are believed to be very promising players, which guarantees further success for OGC Nice.
The third factor that undoubtedly plays a great part in the Ligue 1 current No.4’s success is clever recruitment. Truly, OGC Nice have to manage on a relatively tight budget, which basically means that the club is forced to make careful choices in the transfer market. Some of the last additions to the team – Jean Michael Seri, Maxime Le Marchand and Mickael Le Bihan, signed their contracts with the club in the summer of 2015. Greatly efficient loanees are also an integral part of Nice’s successful strategy for punching above their weight, including Ricardo Pereira, Valere Germain and Wallyson.
Every football team needs a superstar, too. Ben Arfa seems to be the fourth, and last ingredient for the great success of OGC Nice so far, especially considering the fact he is consistent in his actions, not to mention the truly exceptional goals he has proven to be capable of.