injuries, efficiency at half mast … why RC Lens is marking time
After a cannonball first part of the season, the Sang et Or have been stalling…
After a cannonball first part of the season, the Sang et Or have been stalling since the start of 2023. To the point of being worried in the race for Europe.
1er January 2023. RC Lens strikes a blow by winning at home against the leader of Ligue 1, Paris SG (3-1). And positions itself as a credible contender for the title. Two months later, things changed. The Sang et Or, who have won only two games in the meantime for two defeats and five draws, came out of the podium. They now occupy fourth place in the standings – tied on points with third-placed AS Monaco – and have reason to feel threatened in the race for Europe with Stade Rennes, LOSC and even OGC Nice who push hard behind them. This Sunday afternoon (1 p.m.), they move on the lawn of Clermont Foot 63 with the firm intention of reviving.
A cascade of wounds
If they had a bad run, it was largely because they were faced with a cascade of injuries. With the sequence of matches, the twirling Alexis Claude-Maurice and Wesley Saïd filled – for several weeks – the ranks of the Lensoise infirmary, already full with the long-term injured Adam Buksa, Jimmy Cabot, Wuilker Fariñez and Steven Fortes. In addition, other major elements such as Facundo Medina, Massadio Haïdara or Salis Abdul Samed missed a meeting due to a physical glitch.
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“We were lucky to have very few injuries in recent months, apart from the two serious (Flour and Caboyou). No or very few muscle problems“, explained Franck Haise, at the beginning of February. Before indicating that everything has changed with the density of the calendar: “We resumed after the cut by having a series of matches, two in four days on resumption, then three in one week… We could see over the last weekend of Ligue 1 that there were 7 players injured in the first period. When the matches come closer, the risks increase, even if we put more and more important recovery protocols.Fortunately for RC Lens, Alexis Claude-Maurice and Steven Fortes recently resumed collective training while Adam Buksa was able to return to the field to train individually.
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Less effective in both surfaces
Over the past two months, RC Lens has also shown deficiencies in both surfaces – no doubt, in particular, due to its limited workforce over the period. If they are still the best defense in the championship, the Sang et Or now concede goals in every game. “In the very short term, we had shortcomings. It is more difficult to finish matches without conceding a goal. We were one in two. We are currently at one in five“Said Franck Haise in mid-February. Concretely, we have to go back to January 14 and a success against AJ Auxerre to find their last clean sheet.
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Offensively, the artesian club still manages to get chances but its efficiency is at half mast. “The offensive efficiency is less strong. We always create chances, 23 clear chances and 23 situations in the last four Championship matches, but we don’t score much, in the end. Three goals when statistically, we should have shot between six to eight over this period“clarified the Lensois coach before facing FC Nantes on February 19 (3-1). Loïs Openda, the most prolific player of the Sang et Or (9 goals), illustrates this loss of realism well, he who found the net only twice in 2023, at the beginning of January. This Sunday afternoon, against Clermont Foot 63, an opponent well within his reach on paper, the Belgian and RC Lens will have the opportunity to chase their demons. Will they succeed?