Analysis: Golovin continues to sparkle for AS Monaco
AS Monaco’s supremely talented attacking midfielder, Aleksandr Golovin, continued his exceptional recent form by producing a masterclass against Paris Saint-Germain in ASM’s blistering 3-1 triumph.
Playing an integral role in his team’s memorable victory over the mighty Parisians, not only did he open the scoring but he also contributed heavily in all phases of the game for Philippe Clement’s men.
Yet again proving his worth from his nominal left wing post, the gifted playmaker was a constant thorn in the side of PSG.
While his impact was most heavily felt going forward, there was much to like about his stopping work, for he pressed with intelligence and gusto, chimed in with a host of timely interventions and tracked back diligently.
Putting in a real shift defensively, much upside could be also extracted from how he chose wisely when to press the nearby central defender, shift across to help deal with a midfielder or closely follow wing-back Timothee Pembele.
Upon turning the attention back to his offensive output, and his work with the ball at his feet injected plenty of imagination, creativity, incision and quality into their forward forays.
Possessing a wicked first touch and razor sharp ball control, this provided the foundation he needed to make a real nuisance of himself. Press resistant and able to wriggle free of foes, the agile and balanced Russian was a tough man to keep tabs. Moreover, his whirring feints, stepovers and changes in pace and direction compounded issues for his adversaries, thus allowing him to gain separation or to outfox his foes.
Accompanying the afore with his considered passing, it was admirable how he made things happen with his inventive flicks, back heels and one touch passes to destabilise the PSG rearguard. Further positives could be drawn from his capacity to oblige teammates with classy through balls, accurate set-pieces and tidy crosses and cutbacks.
Composed, reading the play smoothly and executing crisply, his secondary assist for ASM’s third goal further underlined the fast thinking, quick footed Golovin’s quality.
Once more shining with his measured movement and positional awareness, this ensured his threat level was amplified. So awake to vacant spaces both in front of and in behind the PSG backline, his shrewd variations were key reasons behind him wreaking havoc.
Relishing the freedom Clement gives him to venture infield between the lines or into the half spaces, plus to sometimes hug the touchline, opponents struggled to contain him.
Whether dropping deep astutely to connect play, finding room in zone 14, surging in behind or down the channels and sharply attacking the box from the blindside when the ball was on the opposite flank, his prowess here was plain for all to see.
Moreover, his crafty interchanges with the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder, Eliesse Ben Seghir and Caio Henrique elevated his nuisance higher, in a match where he flexed his muscles both in transition and controlled build up.
Forever asking questions of his opponents and knowing where vacant spaces were available to exploit due to his frequent scanning, this latest body of work served as a testament to what a handful he is.
By the numbers, his five interceptions, five ball recoveries, three dribbles, three touches inside the box, two shots, one goal and one second assist aptly depicted his strong body of work.
Having now scored four goals and supplied four assists in his last 12 matches for Les Monegasques, the man who is firing on all cylinders is arguably in the richest vein of form since joining ASM from CSKA Moscow for €30 million back in 2018.
Consistent, a tremendous force to be reckoned with and trusted fully now by Clement, the 26-year-old’s taking the league by storm. “At training I saw a player that was technically very gifted but not in good shape,” Clement told beIN Sports.
“We knew we could help him become a top player and he worked hard. Now, he’s fresher, stronger and more explosive. He’s realising his full potential. You can really see the difference now for sure.”
In the prime of his career and playing a vital part in Monaco’s scintillating eight-game unbeaten streak, if he can keep up his elite level, that he displayed emphatically vs. PSG, then Monaco will be well on their way to achieving their aim of securing a coveted Champions League spot and going far in Europe.