Monaco’s thunderous spring

Spring is going well for AS Monaco (ASM). Just like last season, the Principality’s football club had a great end to the season, achieving a series of eight consecutive wins in the league, the best current series in the five main European championships.

In Ligue 1, only Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) achieved such a sequence at the start of the season. A record that Monaco can erase against Brest, Saturday, May 14 (9:00 p.m.), for the 37Y and penultimate day.

Thanks to this winning streak, the Monegasques climbed to the podium, for the first time this season, after their victory in Lille (2-1), on May 6, just three points behind Olympique de Marseille (OM), second . To the point of being able to openly dream of the Champions League for next season.

“It has become very difficult to aspire to a place in the Champions League, you don’t have to hide your face”Monegasque central defender Benoît Badiashile (21) said after 28Y day, in March, when his team (8Y) was nine points out of third place. “I never said that the podium was not possible”points out, for his part, The world, Belgian coach Philippe Clement (48), who arrived in January to replace Croatian Niko Kovac.

Failure in the Europa League, “an evil for a good”

However, before the beginning of spring, the situation of the ASM was not glorious. Eliminated in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France by the eventual winner, Nantes, and in the round of 16 of the Europa League by the Portuguese from Braga, Monaco sank into crisis.

According to information from The teamthe Russian owner and president of the club, Dmitri Rybolovlev, wanted to disassociate himself from his vice president, Oleg Petrov, from the sporting director, Paul Mitchell, but also from the coach, Philippe Clement.

“We found out about this paper the morning of the match against PSG”on March 20, he tells the World the vice-captain, Axel Disasi (24 years old). “The reaction of the team has been very good. » ASM had beaten PSG (3-0), starting their positive streak. “I don’t know if we can take this match as a trigger, but we showed that even in a bad moment this team had a lot of qualities.”the player continues.

Paradoxically, the failure in the Europa League “it was a blessing in disguise, even if we had the ambition to do better”admits the vice-captain. “We had more time to prepare for the matches, to rest, to put things in their place. »

Reinforced cohesion

Philippe Clement was finally able to make his mark on the game and the life of the group. Very quickly, he went to work to strengthen cohesion. “I saw, at one point, that they were a bit distant, there was no connection between the different groups in the locker room,” slides The Belgian coach organizes a paintball, a barbecue and installs, in the Turbie training center, a basketball hoop, table football and ping-pong tables. “Thanks to these activities we create certain bonds, we get to know the person in front of us a little better”confirms Axel Disasi.

On the terrain, “The coach brings a lot of calm and patience”midfielder Youssouf Fofana explained on the RMC Sport website in mid-April. “I saw that tranquility was lacking when the circumstances were not favorableanalyzes Philippe Clement. Players were getting nervous, frustrated and wanting to force things. »

The coach, triple Belgian champion with Genk (2019) and then with FC Bruges (2020 and 2021), has a stable starting eleven, unlike the permanent rotations of his predecessor. His starting squad is largely the one from last season.

Monaco also benefited from the return of Aleksandr Golovin (25), Youssouf Fofana (23), who has regained his form alongside his accomplice in midfield, Aurélien Tchouaméni (22). Wissam Ben Yedder continues to terrify the counters (21 goals, second highest scorer in Ligue 1 behind Kylian Mbappé).

The best defense of the season

Defensively, ASM has turned the corner. With thirteen goals conceded in the last seventeen games, the Principality club is the best defense of 2022. The result of a system change and a reformed duo between Benoît Badiashile and Axel Disasi. “It is very important to have a team that defends well, savor Philippe Clement. I want an offensive game and we do it, but the defensive organization must remain. »

Above all, since this winter, the rock club can count on the Brazilian Vanderson (20 years old). The right back or midfielder, who arrived in January from Grêmio Porto Alegre (Brazil) for around 11 million euros, quickly became essential by scoring his first goal after only three games in his new colours.

The Brazilian Vanderson faces the Dutch Sven Botman, during the Lille-Monaco match, at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium, in Villeneuve-d'Ascq (North), on May 6, 2022.

“It’s a real eye-opener, he acclimated pretty quickly. Energize the right side”analyzed this week, at RMC, Jérôme Rothen, former player of the club between 2002 and 2004. “He brought us a lot of fresh blood, creativity, racing”confirms Axel Disasi.

Monaco also exudes physical strength. “Physically, we feel superior to others”said Aurélien Tchouaméni, before moving to Lille. “It gives confidence, when you know that at the end of the game you still have this energy”insists Philippe Clement. One of the many explanations for the dynamics of ASM, who want to triumph in the pass of ten against Brest and then Lens (Saturday, May 21, at 9:00 p.m.). The club would thus secure at least third place, synonymous with Europe.

Ligue 1: the challenges of matchday 37ᵉ

the 37Y and the penultimate day of Ligue 1, on Saturday May 14, promises to be crucial, even decisive, in several aspects.

The battle for the Champions League. After the defeat of Rennes in Nantes, on Wednesday May 11, the battle for the 2Y place, qualifying directly for the Champions League group stage, and for the 3Y place, qualifying for the third preliminary round of the same competition, is of particular concern to Marseille (2Y68 points) and Monaco (3Y, 65 points). The Marseilles, who go to Rennes on Saturday before hosting Strasbourg, have a more complicated schedule than the Monegasques (Brest and then Lens).

Tickets for the Europa League and the Europa League Conference. Winner of the Coupe de France, Nantes has already qualified for the Europa League. There is therefore one entry left for this competition that will go to the club that finishes in 4Y championship position. the 5Y place, will qualify for the play-offs for access to the group stage of the Europa League Conference.

nice (4Y63 points) starts with a slight advantage over Rennes (5Y62 points), Strasbourg (6Y60 points) and Lens (7Y, 58 points). Rennes welcome Marseille, with the possibility of eliminating Lensois from the race for Europe, regardless of their result in Troyes. By beating Clermont, Strasbourg would retain a chance to qualify on the final day.

Who will go down to Ligue 2? the 18Y place will lead to home and away games against a Ligue 2 club, while the 19thY and 20Y places will be synonymous with direct relegation to Ligue 2.

Troy (15Y37 points) is not mathematically sure of his maintenance, but only an unlikely scenario would leave the club in the 18Y square. Clermont (16Y36 points) should also play in Ligue 1 next season, unless Lorient recovers (17Y34 points) and Saint-Etienne (18Y31 points).

The Bretons compete in a “final” for keeping the red lantern of Bordeaux (20Y, 27 points), sentenced to Ligue 2 in case of defeat. Even victorious, the Bordeaux can fall, if the Greens win against Reims. A success by Stéphanois could also be fatal for relegated Metz (19Y28 points) if Messins do not beat Angers.

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