Axel Disasi marked his 100th game for AS Monaco in fine style by producing another polished display in Les Monegasques’ deserved victory against Angers.
Continuing his brilliant form this season that’s even sparked calls for his inclusion in France’s World Cup squad, the powerful stopper was certainly an instrumental figure towards Monaco keeping a clean sheet and securing a vital 2-0 win over Angers.
Beginning the match on the right side of Philippe Clement’s back three before switching to playing in a central defensive pairing alongside Guillermo Maripan when Clement changed shape at the interval, Disasi showed his class by performing well in both animations.
While the towering colossus wasn’t as involved defensively as in previous fixtures due to Monaco having the lion’s share of possession, he still undertook his duties with assuredness and authority.
Showing excellent concentration and positional awareness, this gave him a solid foundation to enjoy a positive game. Alert to danger in his designated area of operation, Disasi knew when to step out to apply pressure, hold his post, shift across, drop back, fill in space left by a colleague or take on a runner himself.
Pressing with intensity when his opponent dropped deep with their back to goal and keen to use his arms and shoulders to impede the momentum of runners, how he got touchtight made life difficult for opponents to gain separation from him. Moreover, with opponents knowing what an enormous physical presence he is and how forceful he is in his duels, he did a great job of creating perceived pressure on his foes, who were always wary of him and subsequently rarely engaged him in 1v1 battles after checking deep with their back to goal.
It also warrants how he’d stand a couple of metres off his marker to give the ball holder the perception that his man was free before he’d then spring into life once the ball was released, as he smartly set these traps to regain the ball on multiple occasions.
Showing good judgement and decision making when making his interventions, Disasi did a sound job of breaking up play, winning loose balls and generally just ensuring his adversaries didn’t enjoy an easy day at the office.
Other aspects of note arose from how he covered the space in behind Maghnes Akliouche in the first half to allow the youngster the freedom to push on while giving structural security to his team, the way he stopped counters before they developed and from his assertive leadership to help marshal his backline and set the tone for his colleagues to follow through his actions.
Meanwhile, in terms of his output in possession, there was plenty to admire here as well.
Especially involved in the first half when Monaco were in a back three, Disasi relished every chance he could to drive forward into the right half space. Indeed, seeing as Monaco had a 3v2 overload in their build up vs. Angers’ first line of pressure, this often saw Disasi be the free man.
Not only did he embark on some powerful dribbles into the vacant zones in the attacking half, that were amplified by Akliouche’s advanced post, plus Monaco’s midfielders and other attackers pinning their markers, but he also expertly attracted pressure to manufacture space in the final third for his colleagues.
In addition, by constantly acting as the spare player, this ensured he had plenty of time and space to pick his passes, which he duly did. Whether hitting raking switches of play, launching the odd through ball in behind, finding the forwards with penetrative line breaking passes or engaging in slick interplay out wide, his distribution injected some valuable offensive impetus even if he misplaced the odd pass.
His capacity to accelerate Monaco’s offensive forays was highlighted when his incisive pass to pinpoint Takumi Minamino between the lines, that took out four Angers players, served as the catalyst for Wissam Ben Yedder winning his first half penalty – that he disappointingly had saved.
If he wasn’t playing these more ambitious passes, it was important to note that he calmly recirculated possession while waiting for a weakness in the opposition block to arise.
Performing his duties on both sides of the ball coherently and demonstrating his tactical flexibility to adjust roles midway through the match, Disasi once again underlined what an accomplished, consistent player he’s become.
By the numbers, his seven successful passes into the final third, six progressive runs, five ball recoveries, four interceptions, three clearances and three accurate long balls punctuated his accomplished day at the office.
Marking his milestone fittingly in front of the home fans at the Stade Louis II, Disasi’s shrewd body of work will surely only strengthen the calls for him to be included in France’s squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Having expressed his desire to play for Les Bleus, this, in combination with the likes of Raphael Varane, Lucas Hernandez and now Jules Kounde being under injury clouds, he’s certainly putting his best foot forward to be in contention for Didier Deschamps’ squad.
Improving all the time, determined, versatile and with a ferociously competitive spirit, the 24-year-old has unquestionably given Deschamps much to ponder courtesy of his elite contributions.
But for now, though, his focus will remain on helping Monaco progress in the Europa League and bettering their standing in Ligue 1. And, if he can do that while keeping up his exceptional level, his dreams of getting that coveted France call up might just become a reality.