Guillermo Maripan backed up his solid outing against Nantes last weekend by putting in a polished shift in AS Monaco’s 4-0 rout of Clermont Foot on Sunday.
Keeping up his positive recent form, that’s helped Monaco keep four clean sheets in the last six games he’s featured in, the Chilean international played with assuredness and confidence to make life as difficult as possible for Clermont.
A commanding figure on the pitch who leads by example and assists his colleagues when possible, the experienced stopper’s presence was valuable towards Monaco shutting out their foes.
Positionally sound, an intelligent reader of the play and alert to threats as a result of his scanning, this was integral towards his success, for it masked his lack of pace. Making a slew of interceptions to cut out through balls in behind or crosses into the area, his aptitude here was clear to see.
Reacting quickly when his man dropped deep with their back to goal too, Maripan was eager to get touchtight so his markers (usually Pierre-Yves Hamel or Jodel Dossou) couldn’t control the ball cleanly or turn and face him to potentially exploit his speed deficiency. Nipping in with some vital interventions using his long legs and unbalancing his foes with his strength, his approach worked a treat to maximise his effectiveness.
Maintaining his concentration and focus, Maripan’s attentiveness to danger was also illustrated when he dropped back or shifted across to cover space in behind when Axel Disasi stepped up.
With Monaco often playing quite a high line, how he kept compact with his backline and maintained good spacing enabled him to perform his duties without getting hurt by runners in behind.
Displaying a smooth understanding with Axel Disasi and his fellow defensive comrades, this was key towards Monaco keeping the Lancers at bay. “It’s easy to adapt because they are all great players, with a lot of talent, whether it’s Benoit, Axel, Strahinja or Harisson. I get on very well with all of them, both on and off the pitch. Unfortunately, some of them have had physical issues, but it’s easy to play with all of them,” he said.
Standing a towering 192cm, Maripan unsurprisingly held his own in aerial duels. Strong, adept at outmuscling his adversaries and picking up the ball flight sharply, his work here ensured he either nullified threats or allowed his team to win the second ball.
Monaco’s third goal actually owed plenty to his heading, for his robust clearance set the wheels in motion for the counter attack that led to Wissam Ben Yedder earning and subsequently scoring his penalty.
Exercising good judgement and decision making, there was much to admire about how he won many loose balls and timed his challenges.
By the numbers defensively, his nine ball recoveries, seven interceptions, three won aerial duels, two clearances and the fact he won six of his seven aerial duels underlined his stopping output.
Meanwhile, Maripan’s cleanness and clarity in possession meant he contributed nicely when Monaco were building out from the back. Recirculating possession quickly to manipulate Clermont’s first line of pressure, Maripan was accurate and incisive on his way to completing 58 of his 62 attempted passes.
The way he’d alter the angle of attacks to take advantage of openings in the opposition shape and broke the lines with some crisp ground balls was notable as well. The examples below highlight his progressive passing, with the first especially important for this one facilitated the third man combination that led to Monaco’s second.
Comfortable on the ball and relishing every chance to dribble upfield into the half spaces, which were often free due to Monaco enjoying a 3v2 overload in build up and because of the way they operated with a back three in possession, he did so with intent.
Not only did he use this space to enjoy extra time and space to assess his options, but also to provoke pressing actions from opponents to generate space or open passing lanes.
Looking the goods again for Les Monegasques and endearing himself to new manager Philippe Clement, who’s started him in both of his matches at the helm, it’s been terrific to see him playing at a level near his best.
Happy under Clement and adapting smoothly to his methods, the former Alaves star’s recent comments on working under the new coach gave an intriguing insight. “Each coach has their own method. Each time a new coach arrives, you have to adapt to what they want and to their methods. But the squad is very keen to work and show their best , and we want to continue to progress with the new coach,” he asserted.
“There are no big differences between our current work and that of our former coach, just small details, especially when we are in possession of the ball and in building play from the back.”
Primed for a big second half of the season with Monaco and confident they can go on a wicked run to end the campaign (just like they did last term), expect the ultra motivated Maripan to keep putting his best foot forward as 2022 rolls on.