Goodbye, Guingamp

EA Guingamp 2018-19 season review.

Coming off the back of two consecutive impressive mid-table finishes 2018-19 looked like it could be a promising season for Las Costarmoricains and coach Antoine Kombouare. Despite losing a great talent in former Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Clement Grenier it looked like Guingamp could have potentially strengthened as they splashed £2.25m on Sikou Niakate, their most expensive addition since Gilmar nine years ago but he was swiftly loaned back to Valenciennes. EAG also added Ronny Rodelin, Nolan Roux and talented midfielder Guessoma Fofana to their 2018-19 squad.

Shortly after the restart of the season it was clear that Guingamp’s business was not as smart as it seemed with them sitting glued to the bottom of the league after 6 games picking up 0 points, although it was a tough run of games that seen them face 4 of the eventual top 6. EAG had to wait until the tail end of September to pick up their first point which they done travelling to the Stade des Costieres, Nimes’ stadium in the south of France, in a 0-0 draw.

After this Guingamp continued to push on from this picking up their first win against Angers the following week and then furthermore going unbeaten throughout the month of October picking up 3 consecutive draws in the league and again beating Angers and knocking them out of the Coupe De La Ligue.

This positive feeling around the Guingamp camp was quickly smashed away after the team conceded 9 goals in less than a week after a 5-0 trouncing from Nantes seen a temporary change of boss when Sylvain Didot took control of the wheel for one game and suffered a harsh 4-2 defeat to Lyon. His permanent replacement Jocelyn Gourvennec also couldn’t prevent a loss in his first game when his side fell to a 2-1 defeat at Reims.

December came around and results where improving, they started off with a draw against Europa League hopefuls OGC Nice and then suffered back to back losses against other relegation battlers Amiens and Dijon. Although these results sound negative this is where it started to kick on, Gourvennec modified his 4-2-3-1 formation slightly so Marcus Thuram was playing in his more natural left winger role. This clearly worked as Guingamp won 4 competitive games on the bounce, the first time they won consecutive games all season. This string of results included a penalty win over Nice to take them into the semi-finals of the Coupe De La Liga, an easy beating of minnows St Pontivyen, a 2-0 league win over Monaco, their first since September. The final win out the four was an incredible 2-1 win over PSG in the Coupe De La Ligue semi finals. Despite this tragic league form EAG had a surprise cup final to look forward to.

In January, Guingamp brought in 5 players. Former Sunderland duo Papy Djilibodji and Didier Ndong were joined by Johan Larsson, Alexandre Mendy and Mehdi Merghem but these additions could only help them to 4 wins in 14 up until the Cup Final. This game swung back and forth and was still goalless after 120 minutes played. It was the 4th game out of 5 in the tournament that Guingamp had went to penalties in and sadly the only one they lost in. After this heartbreak it was ultimately season over for Guingamp as they had just a month and a bit to cut a large point deficit.

EAG’s fate was sealed on the 12th of May when Marcus Thuram saw a 92nd minute penalty saved by Rennes goalkeeper Tomas Koubek closing the curtains on a miserable but nearly so wonderful season for En Avant de Guingamp.

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