Ligue 1: Dominant display powers AS Monaco to victory vs. Lorient
Having suffered a frustrating draw with Nantes last time out, AS Monaco needed to win vs. Lorient to stay in the hunt for the Champions League qualification places. And that’s precisely what they did by recording a dominant 3-1 triumph over a quality Les Merlus outfit.
Making two changes for this vital clash, Philippe Clement brought in the experienced duo of Youssouf Fofana (returning from suspension) and Kevin Volland, with these moves certainly paying off.
Intent on stamping their mark from the outset, ASM jumped out to a fine start, as they were bettering their opponents on both sides of the ball. They importantly rewarded themselves for their fast opening when Krepin Diatta found the back of the net in the 14th minute following some lovely work by Aleksandr Golovin.
Not wanting to settle, the home side wasted little time in doubling their advantage just prior to the half-hour mark through Golovin, who capped off a wonderful move, that featured some wizardry from Wissam Ben Yedder, with aplomb.
In control and underlining what a force to be reckoned with they are, Les Monegasques weren’t far off extending their lead in the closing third of the half, before ultimately heading into the break two goals up.
Desperate to avoid a repeat of last week’s events, it was impressive how ASM kept their focus and carried their momentum into the second stanza. Volland then duly propelled Monaco into a three goal lead on 55 minutes with a smashing effort to essentially seal the victory.
Keen to bring on some fresh legs to maintain their level, Clement introduced Eliot Matazo, Ismail Jakobs and Eliesse Ben Seghir, with this helping steer ASM to a comfortable victory even if some gloss was taken off the win due to Lorient’s late penalty to ensure the game ended 3-1.
“Since when has my team not played so well? It’s hard to say. On the other hand, it’s fair enough to say that AS Monaco were 100% concentrated today. My players showed a lot of attention, well constructed actions and nice goals. Unfortunately we conceded this goal on penalty, which is a little unfortunate, because for me the foul is outside the area,” he insisted.
“At 3-0, it’s almost a perfect match! It’s a lesson for us that proves that when we play like that we are a very good team, which should not be faltering like in Nantes. This week we worked a lot with video to fix what was wrong.
“Football starts with winning duels! Everyone was in it today from the first seconds of the game. My players made good runs, good calls and good passes while always being aggressive. We moved together and everyone kept their focus for the whole game. These are games we have to repeat against the big teams. It must be a reference for my players, because life is much better when you play like that. Now we have to stay focused on the last seven finals, not just against Lens.”
By the numbers, the fact ASM held the ascendancy over Lorient in terms of expected goals (1.87 to 1.17), total shots (11 to 7), shots on target (7 to 4), big chances created (4 to 1) and passes in the opposition half (239 to 139) underlined what a polished outing they produced.
While Monaco still sit fourth in the standings, they’re importantly only two points behind third placed Lens, who they play next weekend, in what’s set to be an absolute battle royale for supremacy at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
“It will not be a more decisive match than the others. It’s the same to face Marseille, Lyon or Lille. When you play against your direct opponents, there are always six points at stake. But it’s very important that we showed a good face today, because Lens also showed great things yesterday against Paris, despite the red card early. It’s a team that plays like us every game to win it,” explained Clement when asked about the colossal upcoming clash.