Facing off with one of their rivals for the European qualification places in Strasbourg, AS Monaco disappointingly fell to a 1-0 defeat.
Ringing in the changes for this fixture, the likes of Sofiane Diop, Djibril Sidibe and Ismail Jakobs entered the fray, as Philippe Clement knew he needed to rotate his squad during this busy period. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to propel Monaco to victory, with the away team yet again struggling to find the back of the net.
Despite the match getting off to an even start, it was Strasbourg who opened the scoring following an incredible scissor kick by Alexander Djiku. Although securing an equaliser was Monaco’s clear intention, they just couldn’t get themselves back on level terms.
Ultimately unfruitful efforts from Gelson Martins, Kevin Volland and Diop before the break gave Les Monegasques hope heading into the interval. But the second half unfortunately proved a case of close but no cigar too, with attempts from Martins, Vanderson and Aleksandr Golovin just failing to hit the mark.
Alexander Nubel’s frustration was evident when speaking after the match, insisting the need for his team to immediately turn their attention to their upcoming challenges after this setback. “We lost, so we are all bound to be disappointed. The first half was okay, but the second, especially the last 30 minutes, wasn’t good enough. We weren’t aggressive enough to score a goal which would have revived us, so for us it wasn’t a good match,” he stated.
“From tomorrow we will have to think about the things to work on, but the good news is that Thursday we will play another big match, against Braga, and it will be a very good opportunity for us to bounce back. We aren’t looking at the table, we are focused on the games to come and we have to keep working hard. We want to bounce back, there are still many matches left until the end of the season, so anything is still possible.”
Goals continue to be hard to come by
As touched on earlier, AS Monaco’s lack of goals continue to be a real problem, which has seen them find the back of the net only five times in their last seven matches.
Finding it difficult to produce those high quality chances and fire off enough shots on net, this game illustrated their issues, for they only mustered five total shots (none of which were on target) that had an expected goals reading of just 0.74.
Even though the result wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t through a lack of effort. Indeed, this was evidenced by the fact Monaco bettered their foes in terms of ground duels won (39 to 30), aerial duels won (24 to 22), overall duels won (63 to 52) and tackles won (10 to 9).
Massive week ahead
Falling to their fourth loss in their last seven games in all competitions with this latest defeat, Monaco will need to quickly recalibrate their focus ahead of a massive week, which sees them not only play Braga in the Europa League, where they’ll be desperate to overturn a two goal deficit, but also engage in a colossal clash with Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 on Sunday.