AS Monaco kicked off 2021 with a bang by defeating Lorient 5-2 away from home.

With Axel Disasi, Kevin Volland, Aleksandr Golovin, Sofiane Diop and Guillermo Maripan all getting on the scoresheet, this was a smashing result for Niko Kovac’s men. 

Following an average first half showing, Kovac knew he needed to switch things up at half time, as he introduced Diop and Maripan, which worked beautifully. With his changes helping to inspire a rampaging second half, Kovac’s insight into the match was intriguing. “In the first half, nobody was at their usual level. I had to change something for the second half. I had quality players on the bench, so I decided to make some changes,” he explained. 

“Guillermo made a good appearance — I thought Axel looked nervous, it wasn’t necessarily his day today. Willem had a good opportunity as well and he couldn’t make it happen. I wanted them to play with their foot on the ball in the second half, hence the entry of Sofiane. He brought a level of technical quality, he played well and scored.”

The clash also marked the return of star playmaker, Golovin, who celebrated the occasion with a wonderful goal with his first touch that was the highlight of his encouraging cameo off the bench.

Showing determination and character to fight back after Lorient leveled twice, Monaco were good value for the win, as they tore apart their opponents in the second half after Jonathan Delaplace’s red card.

By the numbers, their 15 shots, 59.4% possession, 87% pass completion rate and eight corners illustrated that Monaco enjoyed the upper hand. 

Les Monegasques will immediately turn their attention to high flying Angers, who are level on points with them on the table and in excellent form. Fresh from beating Marseille and Lille in their last two and having only lost one of their last seven matches, Monaco will need to be at their best to overcome Stephane Moulin’s men. 

Knowing how brilliant his side can be, just like in the second stanza vs. Lorient, Kovac will need his team to be focused from the outset against Angers, who will definitely be awake to punish Monaco for any lapses.