Wissam Ben Yedder’s beautiful brace was crucial towards AS Monaco overcoming Rennes 3-2, as he continued his sensational start to life on the French Riviera.
His double impressively sees him move on to eight league goals, with the diminutive forward now topping the Ligue 1 scoring charts courtesy of his blistering form that’s seen him find the back of the net in his last five league matches.
Helping Leonardo Jardim’s men win in style with two sublimely taken finishes, the last of which secured victory at the death, his tremendous quality shone brightly throughout.
Starting upfront with Islam Slimani, the ever improving, complementary relationship the pair share enabled them to wreak havoc on Julien Stephan’s men, who struggled to come to grips with one of the most lethal strikeforces in Ligue 1.
Coalescing superbly, they persistently asked questions of their opposition, with their clever variations and teamwork bearing fruit on many occasions. Aside from performing some nice opposite movements and interchanges when one would usually drop deep and one would stay high on the shoulder of the last man, they also positioned themselves within close proximity to combine and did a fantastic job of drawing markers to create space for each other and teammates.
Clever opposite movements by Ben Yedder and Slimani
Attackers positioned within close proximity
“We have two quality attackers with totally different profiles. One is aggressive, he drops deep, he wins duels, the other is more technical, he knows how to find space in close quarters and is very effective in the area. We will continue to work to improve the way we use these two players,” Jardim explained on their partnership.
Stretching and manipulating the Rennes backline effectively, it was great to see how they coordinated their movement, with Cesc Fabregas notably benefiting from the space generated between the lines.
Ben Yedder and co smartly pinning multiple markers
To focus on Ben Yedder individually, and his movement was superbly timed and directed to get in behind or when checking towards the ball carrier, as the speedster persistently offered his colleagues with a progressive option.
Fantastically timed and directed run in behind
Superbly timed depth run
Dropping deep to find space between the lines
Moreover, his instinctive movement inside the box also deserved mention, for his knowledge of when to attack crosses, hold back his runs at the edge of the box or exploit the blindside of trackers offered extra reasons for positivity.
Supplementing this with his wonderful awareness and anticipation, which ensured he picked up the ball’s flight and velocity quickly so he could tailor his movement only amplified his worth. His goals certainly encapsulated his goalscoring prowess, with his reading of the play, movement and execution parlaying beautifully as shown in the graphics below.
Sublime movement and finish key to his first goal
Sharp anticipation and movement ahead of his second goal
Despite his small stature, Ben Yedder’s strength was another highlight of his work, for he held up the ball competently, rode challenges well and outmuscled his adversaries with aplomb. Aided by his low centre of gravity and supreme balance, the way he kept his feet to shield the ball while under duress before finding a colleague was a joy to watch.
From these instances, his neat ball control and first touch further held him in good stead to have an impact, as the technically proficient attacker’s work with the ball at his feet was of a high standard. Hitting some lovely one and two touch passes, plus some intricate flicks, to link play, he connected passages smoothly. Also hitting some incisive through balls and reverse balls, the French international obliged his teammates’ movement smartly.
Crafty outside of the boot through ball
Brilliant splitting through ball for Slimani
Measured cross to pinpoint Slimani inside the box
So good at scanning his surroundings, this meant he knew just what to do depending on the situation depending on where his opponents, teammates and the space were located.
Great use of head scanning
Switching the focus to his dribbling, and the 29-year-old embarked on many dynamic dribbles using his crafty ability to unbalance his foes. Doing so in a variety of ways that included using feints, shoulder drops, sharp changes of direction and his wicked acceleration, he was undoubtedly a tough customer to contain. Whether gaining separation from his man, beating opponents or provoking one or more pressers, Ben Yedder’s aptitude here served his team admirably.
Quick thinking and quick footed, his decision making was typically on point too, which was particularly praiseworthy upon considering his role, that sees him constantly operating in high pressure and heavily populated areas of the pitch.
Ben Yedder’s Heat Map
By the numbers, his nine touches inside the box, four shots, two accurate crosses, two dribbles and five completed passes into the final third aptly illustrated his multifaceted performance.
Beginning the season in scintillating fashion, his dismantling of Rennes’ backline once again highlighted what a fantastic acquisition he’s been for Monaco, as the hefty €40 million transfer fee they paid Sevilla for his services is already looking like money superbly spent.