Philippe Clement secured his first win as AS Monaco manager with an outstanding 4-0 win over Clermont Foot under the watchful eyes of Prince Albert II.
Looking dangerous from the outset and immediately asserting their dominance, Monaco’s lively attackers in the form of Kevin Volland, Gelson Martins, Sofiane Diop and Caio Henrique were constantly placing Clermont’s backline under threat with their incisive movement, speed and technical qualities.
Although Les Monegasques conjured many opportunities in the opening stanza, they had to wait until right before half-time before finally taking the lead through Diop.
Wanting some extra cutting edge upfront, Clement opted to bring on Wissam Ben Yedder at the break. And what an inspired move it turned out to be, for the Monaco skipper immediately changed the game. Taking less than 10 minutes to get on the scoresheet, Ben Yedder applied a superb finish to guide Henrique’s cross past Ouparine Djoco to double the home side’s lead.
The little maestro then grabbed his second when he slotted home a penalty, which he initially won with a slick piece of skill, with clinical efficiency.
To round out the brilliant performance Henrique got himself on the scoresheet to make it 4-0, in a match where Monaco were impressive offensively and solid at the back on their way to keeping a vital clean sheet.
Clement offered plenty of insight in his post match comments, as he spoke on a range of topics including his happiness at the win, the importance of Ben Yedder and his tactical decisions (which saw Monaco use a back three in possession and a back four without the ball).
“It was important to win this game. I’m happy with the way the team started the game, although in my opinion we should have won a penalty for a foul on Sofiane Diop,” Clement explained.
“We created a lot of chances and the first goal before half-time released the players. We scored four goals but we could have scored even more. We saw a lot of interesting things and the first signs of how we want to play.”
“He was sick this week and that’s why he didn’t start this game. But I think Wissam will thrive a lot in the football we want to produce, which is very attacking football, with a lot of players in the last 16 yards. Wissam has very great qualities, he feels the game perfectly, he knows when to pick up the ball and when to go deep.”
“The system put in place depends first of all on the players available and, at the moment, we are missing a few of them. Despite that, the play produced in the first half wasn’t bad at all, and it was even better in the second, so it will be interesting to see the next games. I always want a team that can play in different systems in order to surprise the opposition, but the most important thing is to create chances and have a good defensive organisation when winning the ball.”
Monaco’s ascendancy was further accentuated by the fact they bettered their opponents in terms of Expected Goals (4.77 to 0.32), possession (53% to 47%), shots (20 to 6), chances created (19 to 4), accurate crosses (8 to 1), duels won (71 to 46), completed dribbles (13 to 6) and won aerial duels (25 to 13).
Keeping themselves right in the hunt for Champions League qualification following this crushing victory, they’ll want to carry their momentum into their next Ligue 1 clash against Montpellier, who sit just two points behind Monaco in the standings.
Set to be an absolutely cracking match, Clement will relish having no midweek fixture so he can continue imparting his ideas onto his players in training and so they’re thoroughly prepared for the challenge ahead.