Not so long ago, the AS Monaco vs. Paris Saint-Germain headliner was a major footballing attraction. That was when Monaco was much more than the shadow of its former self that we have come to know this season.
The confrontation between PSG and the Monégasques has practically lost all of its allure. The imbalance is remarkable. Paris is in full control at the top of Ligue and Monaco in free fall in 19th on the league table. While PSG has played 12 matches and won 12 matches, lowly Monaco has mustered only 7 points (one victory) in the same number of contests.
This downward trajectory has not been helped by Thierry Henry becoming manager of the club on October 13, 2018. The team’s lone victory this season came before Henry took the helm.
Can… anyone come out to play?
To make matters worse, the Monégasque trainer has to compose a competitive side with a roster full of injured talent. Fourteen injuries including Rony Lopes, Aleksandr Golovin, Moussa Sylla, Adama Traoré and Kamil Glik, as well as the suspension of Youri Tielemans and absence of Andrea Raggi. To fill out the side against PSG, Henry has called up youth team players Badiashile, Massengo, Panzo, Faivre, Isidor, and Thuram.
Henry’s challenge begins with forming a solid defensive block that the entire team can rely on and trust. This exploit will be even more difficult without the team’s starters. Building around a mixed group of youth players and starters, the team’s strategy against PSG will be to try to frustrate their play.
If Henry can succeed in instilling confidence in his hybrid team, the match may prove somewhat entertaining though probably not competitive.
Winning back the fans
In the context of the event’s diminished stature, the ASM organization has taken up a rare position. Instead of raising ticket prices for the reception of PSG, defending Ligue 1 champions, Monaco has decided to lower prices.
According to a press release on the club’s official website: “With opening ticket sales of the Seconde B tribune, we are releasing 500 tickets at the exceptional rate of 30€ rather than 55€.” This reads as a sort of apology to Monaco fans following recent losses against Reims and the humiliating Champions League loss (4-0) against Club Brugge.