While the Ruthénois resumed training this Tuesday, June 21, with physical tests while waiting for their first ball training the next day, several questions surround the blood and gold club when starting summer preparation, with very discreet communication.
Will the choice of the reduced workforce be renewed?
When approaching the previous season, a year ago, a new strategy was adopted by the Ruthenian leaders. It consisted of reducing the number of players in the squad. A way to favor quality over quantity, while aiming for better group cohesion, avoiding having very little used players, dragging their spleen throughout the season.
Only, despite a successful first half of the championship, the Raf measured the limits of this strategy. Laurent Peyrelade, the coach, deplored a lack of vital forces, preventing him from making 10 against 10. He also had to rack his brains during the winter, when his workforce was hit by numerous absences, partly because of Covid. These inconveniences, as well as the recruitment of four players in January, suggest that the group will be built differently for the coming season.
What tactical scheme will be favored by Laurent Peyrelade?
After 18 games without a win and a suspenseful end to the season, Raf saved their skin with three wins in the last three days. With a common point during these successes: a tactical scheme in 5-4-1 preferred to the usual 3-5-2. It remains to be seen whether Laurent Peyrelade will wish to keep this organization, or return to his usual plan. Even try another scheme, he who had tried – in vain – to set up a 3-4-3 two years ago. Friendly matches should give answers to this.
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In which positions does the Raf still need to be reinforced?
This answer will partly depend on the two previous ones. But the fact remains that with the departures already recorded (Vidal, Kérouédan, Leborgne, Zidane, Dembélé and Vilhjalmsson, plus the loan returns of Varane and Tiéhi), several sectors need to be reinforced. This mainly concerns the right side and the attack, possibly the midfield.
At the end of last season, President Pierre-Olivier Murat expressed his desire to recruit “one experienced player per line”. For the time being, only two reinforcements have been made: goalkeeper Sébastien Cibois (ex-Brest) and midfielder Antoine Valério (ex-Nîmes). Others should intervene in the coming weeks, for a club which has been rather accustomed, in recent years, to carrying out most of its recruitment before the resumption of training.
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Who will be the starting goalkeeper?
Cibois or Mpasi? The Ruthenian coach, who is used to favoring a clear hierarchy in the goalkeeper position, will have to decide on the identity of the holder during the coming season. At 24, the former Brestois arrives in Aveyron with the desire to relaunch his career, he who was relegated to the position of number 3 in the L1 club after a serious ankle injury a year ago. As for the Congolese international, holder at Raf for a year and a half, he has been questioned several times by his coach, who has made mistakes with serious consequences. But was also one of the decisive elements during the three victories at the end of the season, capitals in the maintenance of the Raf.
What future for Pierre Bardy?
Captain at the start of last season, the defender trained at the club has gradually fallen back in the hierarchy. After losing his armband and then his place as usual starter, he even missed the last six games of the season, by choice of the coach and then, at least, by injury. The next few weeks will show whether Pierre Bardy enters his coach’s plans again. Or if the last exercise caused a definitive break for this emblematic player of the club, still under contract for one year.
Will Amiran Sanaia be able to regain his best level?
He too is a historic blood and gold, present at the club for five years. Due to a tumor detected in October, the Georgian had missed a large part of last season, busy treating himself. Extended by the club, he is still part of the workforce and intends to become a top-level player again, at 32 years old.