I’d like to pretend I spent months planning this ‘long shots’ project (explained here, if you’re catching up), but I didn’t. In fact, it occurred to me a few days before I wrote the intro post outlining the plan, and that means I’m learning on the fly. That will apply particularly to the French league, which is not something I spend any time on normally, to be honest.

It worked out well, then, that Metz got underway over the weekend against Monaco with none of my other four (as yet unchosen) sides having started their season.

I was surprised to see France is allowing reasonable (though much reduced) attendances, and the below highlights feature Metz fans socially distancing on terraces and seating as they watch their team.

FC Metz finished 15th last season, and actually won only three fewer games than Monaco before the league was called to a halt with about ten games to go. Monaco are, it’s fair to say, not the force they once were. The current Metz team has a heavy African influence, and of the 15 players who appeared on Sunday (yes, they’re still allowing five substitutes), 11 were of African origin, including 8 of the starters.

The team seems in particular to have strong North African, Senegalese and Malian connections, and based on their opening day they look competent enough, and I’m not sure they should be as heavy as their opening day odds of 1/6 on to go down.

They did do that typical ‘struggling team’ thing, though, of giving away a daft free-kick and then allowing Benoit Badiashile to volley it in with plenty of space. Metz then went on to have by far the better of the game, in particular when Monaco had a man sent off, but couldn’t get a goal. There were plenty of chances, and at a glance they look like they lack a solid finisher. So we start what will be a game of a little under 200 games with a loss, which was probably to be expected.

On a side note, how nice are the FC Metz home shirts? I’ve always had a weakness for a bit of claret! Metz don’t play next week, aside from a friendly against a German side, and neither do any of the other four leagues, so it’ll be a quiet one.

The stats (across my five teams)

Played 1 Won 0 Drawn 0 Lost 1

Goals for 0 Goals against 1

Average score 0-1

Points 0


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