Winner in Saint-Étienne, AS Monaco made a very good impression on Friday night at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium (4-0). A successful collective performance that reassures Monegasque supporters while the club remained on a draw and a defeat. Far from sinking into doubt, Niko Kovac’s players have validated the thesis of the mishap and remain in the race for the title.
“A victory would clearly be an opportunity to put the pressure … behind and in front. “Niko Kovac had announced the color at a pre-match press conference. And obtained satisfaction from his players. The stake of the match in Saint-Étienne on Friday evening, at the opening of the 30th day of Ligue 1 , was to put pressure on PSG (2nd) and OL (3rd) and take the lead on 5th place. The Monegasques did it brilliantly by winning widely in Saint-Étienne (4 -0) and now have a point behind the Lyonnais and the Parisians, and 14 ahead of Marseille (5th).
However, nothing was written because the players of Niko Kovac remained on two poor performances with a defeat in Strasbourg (0-1) and a draw against Lille (0-0). While Monaco had taken 32 points out of 34 possible since the end of December, the Principality’s club had therefore just chained two disappointing results. And in professional football, the slightest destabilizing effect can derail a beautiful mechanism. But the content of the ASM matches did not suggest a crisis, on the contrary. And the Monegasque collective demonstrated it this evening, with a very big performance.
Because in Monaco, the team is king. The solution had to come from a big game on the part of all the players, and not just one or two of them. Far from doubting, the Kovac proteges have confirmed that they will be fighting for the title until the end and have validated the thesis of the mishap. Once again, the Croatian coach of Monaco has proven that he can count on a good depth of bench, which comes to demonstrate the strength of this collective. Stevan Jovetic, who started the game in place of usual starter Wissam Ben Yedder, opened the scoring in the first half two minutes after missing a penalty. Krepin Diatta, who entered during the game, opened his goal counter with ASM to score Monaco’s fourth goal.
Meanwhile, Aurélien Tchouaméni (21 years) and Sofiane Diop (20 years), the two best revelations of the ASM of the season, worsened the score and demonstrated one of the other strengths of Monaco: the youth is the heyday of the Principality this season. And to top it off, Monaco completed a new clean sheet, the fourth in five matches, while defense was the weak point of this team at the start of the season. Progress in the defensive sector made as a team, again and again. “The statistics speak for us. We went through matches without taking a goal and regained defensive stability“, noted the other young Benoît Badiashile (19) at a press conference on Wednesday.
Monaco in crisis after its last two matches? Far from it, and this victorious trip to Saint-Étienne proves once again that ASM is a serious candidate at least for the Top 3 of the championship. “Before Lille, I told the players that it was an opportunity to confirm that we could be as competitive as the best. We did it. At the start of the season, we weren’t ready. Half a season later I can tell we are“Niko Kovac said at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
The defeat in Strasbourg already seems a long way off and Monaco proved in the most beautiful way this Friday evening its ability to rebound. Until then, Kovac had been measured and wanted as a priority to secure 4th place by taking a comfortable lead over 5th. Eight days from the end, the 14-point lead – provisional before this weekend’s matches – should do the trick. Monaco can now aim higher. And with a more than favorable schedule, despite the reception of Lyon during the 35th day and a trip to Lens during the 38th -, the dream of a title or, let’s remain measured, of a qualification in the Champions League, becomes more and more realistic. With such a well-established collective, Monaco can in any case fully believe in it.