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Analysis: Kohn saves the day for AS Monaco vs. Le Havre

16 Philipp KOHN during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Le Havre and AS Monaco. © AS Monaco

With 99 minutes in the books in AS Monaco’s clash against Le Havre, it all came down to Philipp Kohn vs. Samuel Grandsir.

In what was a tense tussle at the Stade Oceane, where both teams enjoyed spells of ascendancy, a late penalty to Le Havre almost ensured ASM left empty handed. But Kohn rose to the occasion by producing a sensational save to deny former Monaco man Grandsir’s spot-kick to secure a crucial point for Adi Hutter’s men.

Masterful save at the death to stop the penalty

“The best save I can make is the one that saves you the win and the clean sheet in the last minute of a match,” Kohn fittingly recently said to the Ligue 1 website.

“It’s a position where you have to concentrate all the time, right up to the 90th minute. As I said, sometimes you have to make a last-minute save to help the team win, so concentration is vital.”

Having joined in the summer on a five-year deal from Red Bull Salzburg, the Swiss international keeper has steadily gone about establishing himself in Ligue 1, with this latest performance punctuating what a nice start to life he’s made at Monaco despite the odd setback in his opening 12 matches for the club.

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Right on top of his game from the outset against Le Havre, he cut a commanding, assured presence between the posts for Les Monegasques.

Aside from his aforementioned heroics, it was also notable how he remained attentive to danger from his powerful base posture on the balls of his feet, ready to launch in any direction, plus from how he made intelligent decisions, which all combined to see him make a host of handy saves.

Reading the play coherently and constantly adjusting his positioning depending on the situation, this, in combination with his focus, saw him remain alert to danger even though he went decent spells without being called upon.

Springing into action when his team needed him, how he used his slick reflexes to get down or across, raced off his line to nullify attacks and dealt with crosses admirably all added to his impact.

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Crafty save to get down and across
Smart stop to deny the long range effort

His save to deny Nabil Alioui was another particularly excellent piece of work, where he stayed on his feet for as long as possible to then allow him to explosively spring upwards and across to get a hand on Alioui’s chipped shot.

Excellent save to deny Alioui

Operating with authority and clarity, there was no doubting what an instrumental figure he was towards the draw on his way to keeping his fourth clean sheet of the campaign.

The 25-year-old’s output in possession offered much reason for upside as well, for his accurate, measured passing over a range of distances helped his team progress upfield to beat the press and switch the angle of attacks.

Brilliant pass to bypass the press

Moreover, it was also notable how he’d help form overloads and provide beneficial passing angles to either bypass Le Havre’s first line or be an option while ASM waited for a weakness to exploit.

Forming an overload before finding the free man

By the numbers from his outstanding man of the match display, his five total saves from an XG against of 1.06, three reflex saves, three accurate long passes at 70%, 20 short passes completed at 100%, two ball recoveries and one interception demonstrated what a fine showing he delivered.

Kohn’s Save Map

Adapting smoothly to life in the French Riviera and emphatically vindicating Monaco’s decision to bring him in to fill the void left by Alexander Nubel, who departed after his loan spell ended, there’s been much to admire about his accomplished efforts so far under a coach he knows well.

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“I’m a goalkeeper who reads the game well, who can make saves and play with his feet. I have a number of qualities and, given what coach Adi Hutter wants, I think I’m going to rely a lot on my footwork,” he insisted.

“I was already very familiar with his philosophy of play because we also worked together at RB Salzburg. I also saw him play for Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach. Before I signed here, we spoke on the phone, but I already knew that he was a coach who liked to have the ball and who demanded pressure.”

The man who idolises the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Iker Casillas, Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak and Hugo Lloris isn’t one to rest on his laurels, however, as he knows there’s always room for refinement in all areas.

Relishing the step up in class Ligue 1 has presented and gaining in confidence with every passing week, Kohn will be eager to flex his muscles once more when Monaco face Paris Saint-Germain after the international break.

While he’ll certainly have his work cut out against the league leaders, if he can replicate his mastery from last weekend’s encounter, Monaco’s chances of achieving a satisfactory result will increase massively.

Humble, immensely talented and dedicated to improving his craft, while Kohn mightn’t be one of the most high-profile keepers in Ligue 1 yet, he’s definitely been one of the most effective – something he illustrated resoundingly vs. Le Havre.

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