The hosts from the capital and largest city in the Flemish region of Belgium used three center backs 1-5-3-2, and the visitors in their usual -1-4-4-2/1-4-3-2-1.
Thierry Henry made a few changes Loic Baldiashile played between the sticks behind the back four of Djibril Sidibe, Andre Roggia, Kamil Glik, and Jemerson. Youri Tielemans and Youssef Ait Bennasser started in the double pivot. Wide players Nacer Chadli, and Aleksandr Golovin were responsible for providing width and crosses in the box. Moussa Scylla and Stefan Jovetic were the starting strikers; Sofiane Diop was brought on (8′) for Jovetic who sustained a thigh injury.
A meeting between two counter-attacking sides is rarely pretty, especially when neither side considers themselves favorites, and in a two-legged contest with a great deal riding on the match. Thierry Henry went with the best approach against a Brugge side that loves sitting back, winning the ball in midfield and counter-attacking rapidly was to defend extremely deep, preventing the home side from attacking in their preferred manner. Both teams started with well-known alignments. That was fine, however, Monaco could have been more proactive with their approach of winning the ball.
Build up and attack the right flank
Monaco tends to attack down the right-hand-side. The inclusion of Golovin on the right with Sidibe we saw overlapping and underlapping runs from the pair. We noticed Golovin tends to remain on the right flank and play a traditional wide role, whilst Chadli drifts in from the left into the box. Therefore, Monaco looked to build attacks down the right. This even had an effect on the passing patterns of their center-backs. Playing on the right side of the center-back pairing, Roggi’s passes were directed to Sidibe.
We’d expect a mirror image from the left center-back Kamil Glik to some extent his passes were to left fullback, Jemerson while some were directed centrally to double pivots.
Is this cause or effect? Regardless it means that there’s preference to build on the right flank when Monaco was building attacks.
The Tielemans show
What is very apparent is Youri Tielmans has his manager’s trust and confidence. Thierry’s time with Belgium he got an up-close look at Tielman; a dynamic and versatile central midfielder who can defend and dictate play. Tielman’s is capable of playing in the 10, 8 or 6 positions, but in central and deep roles we see his skills; vision, technique, and composure.
Counter-attack lead to Sylla goal
This has, very often, something to do with the principles of the game and players’ characteristics. Monaco have on the right side? Djibril Sidibe a complete fullback; very often they attack both simultaneously because there support in the central areas for these players. This is why I believe that many times it is related to the specific behavior of the teams, which can be trained.
I believe it is related to the game model, and with the principles that are
trained. Of course, the game model is also related to the available players and
their characteristics. I believe that is a result of the good use of the player’s
characteristics and of the way the team plays according to those
This analysis focused more on Monaco’s improved performance in the Champions League group stage tie. I assessed the quality of the players, the overall quality of the team, game notion to guide the game model. So far what I am seeing from Monaco has potential but they need time. Be on the lookout for my third and final piece of the assessment.