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Review

Ligue 1: Golovin’s wizardry powers AS Monaco to victory over Metz

Despite falling behind after just four minutes, AS Monaco produced a brilliant comeback, that was led by the masterful Aleksandr Golovin, who bagged a breathtaking brace, to record a crucial 2-1 victory over Metz at the Stade Louis II under the watchful eye of President Dmitry Rybolovlev.

The Match

Faced with a host of personnel issues for this clash, Adi Hutter opted to switch things up and select a 4-4-2 shape, which notably featured a back four consisting of Wilfried Singo, Chrislain Matsima, Krepin Diatta and Ismail Jakobs.

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@ASM

Although ASM started off with authority, they quickly fell behind through Lamine Camara’s astonishing strike from beyond the halfway line to give Metz the early lead.

The home team then immediately responded, as Golovin and Mohamed Camara fired off some dangerous efforts that ultimately didn’t beat Alexandre Oukidja in goal.

Dominant and in control, a piece of pure genius from Golovin then propelled Les Monegasques level just prior to the interval when his scintillating long range blast rippled the back of the net.

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Metz then raced out of the blocks to begin the second period by unleashing some handy efforts, but thankfully Philipp Kohn was on hand to deny the likes of Ablie Jallow and Danley Jean-Jacques.

Having weathered this storm, it was ASM who powered ahead, with Golovin again weaving his magic – this time with an exceptional free-kick from all of 30 yards that cannoned in off the post in the 55th minute.

With the lead and full of confidence, finding a sealing goal was next on the agenda for ASM. And even though Youssouf Fofana (in his 150th game for the club), Takumi Minamino, Maghnes Akliouche, Folarin Balogun and Wissam Ben Yedder enjoyed some strong efforts, they couldn’t extend their advantage.

Their inability to find that cushion almost proved costly, only for Kohn to secure the points for Monaco courtesy of some late heroics. The triumph importantly sees Hutter’s men return to the summit of Ligue 1 and extend their winning streak to three matches.

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Hutter’s Debrief

“I’m happy to win this evening because these are three important points. The first and second periods were different, there were a lot of differences. During the first 45 minutes, we played too slowly and we were too easy to defend against. Golo scored a magnificent goal before the break, which really helped us,” insisted the Austrian tactician.

“In the second, Maghnes contributed well in his role as a free and creative player. It’s true that it was an offensive choice, but it was the decision to make. I want to congratulate my team because we have only been testing this four-man (at the back) system since Friday. But in the end, we took three deserved points despite the absence of many players in defence.

“It is very positive today not to have lost any points. It was important to win, but we still have to work because we are not 100% in all sectors.”

Golovin’s Wizardry

The playmaking genius of Golovin yet again rose to the fore for Monaco, with the diminutive attacker tilting the match in his team’s favour with two moments of sheer inspiration.

Such a key driving force towards this latest win, the way he can change the game in an instant was such a key asset. And this match was the latest testament to his immense quality.

Aside from his remarkable aforementioned double, which emphatically underlined his scoring prowess, his intelligence to astutely find space to breathe life into attacks, artistry on the dribble to outfox foes and craftiness to weave away from trouble and ingenuitive passing to set up others was on full show.

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Golovin’s Pass Map

An elite reader of the play, who boasts superb vision and awareness of his surroundings to amplify his positonal nous and class with the ball at his feet (as discussed in our recent analysis on the gifted attacker), this further compounded issues for Metz.

Golovin’s Heat Map

The stats aptly tell the story of his magnificent day at the office, as he created five chances, had four shots, made four successful passes into the final third, embarked on four fruitful dribbles, struck six accurate long passes, whipped in two accurate crosses, completed 49 passes at 84% and chimed in with 10 defensive interventions to nicely supplement his pair of goals.

Fitting excellently into Hutter’s plans and now up to four goals and one assist for Les Rouge et Blanc this term, it’s been a joy to watch him continue his outstanding form from last crusade, where he was unquestionably his team’s best player in what his finest season yet on the French Riviera.

Key Match Stats

By the numbers, the fact ASM held the ascendancy in terms of expected goals (1.83 to 0.97), total shots (27 to 8), shots on target (13 to 4), shots inside the box (15 to 7), passes in the opposition half (463 to 70) and overall duels won (55 to 46) highlighted their supremacy.

Lille Awaits

Following their latest character-filled, come from behind display, which means they’ve now secured 11 points from losing positions already this campaign, Monaco will quickly shift their attention to their tough road clash with Lille, who currently occupy fourth in the standings.

“I’m happy that my team has been able to turn things around since the start of the season because we took 11 points like this. We have to be patient in our game. It’s very positive to change the trend of a match,” Hutter asserted on their powers of recovery.

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