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Analysis: Rejuvenated AS Monaco looking the goods under Adi Hutter

In a results based business like football, where managers are placed under enormous pressure to perform, Adi Hutter deserves tremendous credit for his strong start to life with AS Monaco.

While the loss at Lille last weekend was a tough setback considering Monaco held the ascendancy in a host of metrics, meaning they surrendered top spot in Ligue 1, they still sit an impressive third in the standings having won six, drawn two and lost two.

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Attacking the challenge head on and immediately getting to work to implement his offensively-geared philosophy, that he’s tailored brilliantly to fit the strengths of his players, the Austrian’s body of work has been nothing short of impressive so far.

His fast start to life at the helm has been made all the more eye-catching by the fact he’s had to deal with plentiful injury worries in defence especially, where he’s often been forced to use makeshift backlines and play players out of position to get by.

“It’s always important to work on our principles. It hasn’t been easy defensively since the start of the season because we had to make a lot of changes before the matches. As a coach, we like to have all our players at our disposal, it’s not easy,” Hutter, who’s also had to cope with some key men out due to suspension, explained on the situation.

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Losing integral members of the squad to devastating ACL injuries in set-piece specialist and assist king in Caio Henrique and striking powerhouse Breel Embolo, the Austrian also deserves credit for overcoming these massive losses admirably, for their absences have been handled admirably given how indispensable they are to Les Rouge et Blanc.

His tactical flexibility has also been on full show, where he’s shrewdly adapted depending on the opposition and personnel available. The recent win over Metz was a prime example, where he switched away from his preferred back three to a back four to cope with the lack of defensive numbers.

ASM vs. Metz average positions

Another testament to the aforementioned arose when Wissam Ben Yedder and exciting, big money signing from Arsenal in Folarin Balogun have been deployed as a striking duo due to the unavailabilities of the likes of Aleksandr Golovin, Takumi Minamino and rising sensation Eliesse Ben Seghir in attacking midfield.

Getting the best out of the players at his disposal, it’s been particularly terrific to see Minamino enjoying a new lease of life under his tutelage after a tough first term and star man Golovin carrying his exceptional form from last season into this crusade.

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In addition, the slick positional rotations, tremendous energy in midfield from the likes of Youssouf Fofana, Mohamed Camara, Eliot Matazo and Denis Zakaria (when featuring here), dynamism from young livewire Maghnes Akliouche, solid form of Philipp Kohn in goal and tidy output from Wilfried Singo and the out of position Soungoutou Magassa in defence have all been extra reasons for upside.

Typically favouring a 3-4-2-1 shape that provides a fantastic framework for their attacking weapons to combine in close proximity in and around the final third and to disrupt defences with their movement, plus which sees the wing-backs give the width while still having some numbers behind the ball when turnovers occur, there’s been much to like about how Hutter’s got his team playing.

ASM vs. Lens average positions in the 3-2-4-1

By the numbers, the graphics below underline how well they’ve stacked up so far in an offensive sense in Ligue 1, as they notably lead the league for goals scored, shots on target percentage, through balls and smart passes.

ASM’s stats breakdown this season

Hutter isn’t content just yet, however, for he knows there’s still room for refinement, with him stating: “We have to improve a lot. We still have to work because we are not 100% in all sectors. So many people think we are a top team. I think we are a good team, but we have a lot of work to do.”

Without the rigours of European football to worry about, it’s obvious Hutter has been using this valuable extra time on the training ground to good effect, which has streamlined his ability to rapidly get his message across.

While they are by no means a complete package yet and have had their defensive issues, once they recover some heavy hitters from injury and Hutter can fully install his defined philosophy, it’ll be captivating to see Monaco they fare moving forward.

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A massive offensive force to be reckoned with, boasting a hugely exciting squad and desperate to return to the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2018/2019, all the early indicators are encouraging that they can achieve great things this crusade.

Bringing the feel good factor back to the club after Les Monegasques’ terrible end to last season under Philippe Clement, where they won only four of their last 14 matches, Monaco appear to be back on the right path.

Even though it’s still early days of the Hutter era at Monaco and there’s some problems to be addressed, all things considered, he deserves plenty of praise for propelling his team to such a fine start to the campaign despite all the adversity he’s already faced.

Cutting a revitalised, refreshed outfit under the 53-year-old, excitement is high that this entertaining, free-flowing ASM can continue on along on their upward trajectory to fulfil their lofty ambitions of returning to the upper echelons of Ligue 1 and, in the process, secure their spot in next campaign’s Champions League.

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