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Three takeaways from AS Monaco’s friendly loss vs. Servette

Despite suffering a narrow 0-1 defeat to Swiss side Servette to kick off their pre-season, there were still plenty of positives to be extracted from AS Monaco’s display.

Looking particularly good in the first half of this friendly when a host of their heavy hitters were on the pitch, before many of the youngsters were given a chance in the second stanza, coach Adi Hutter cut a content figure afterwards.

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“It’s always the same at the start of the preparations where there is fatigue, it’s normal. I’m obviously a little disappointed with the result, but we’re not stopping there and we want to continue to progress in our style of play. We have a lot of talented young players, who are still struggling with their conditioning, but they are progressing well. They are fighting for their place and, as a coach, I like that,” explained the Austrian manager.

With this in mind, this gives us the opportunity to focus on three takeaways from this encounter.

Singo superb

Carrying his excellent form from last season into this pre-season game, Wilfried Singo was outstanding from his central defensive post.

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Underlining emphatically why he’s one of the premier defenders in Ligue 1, the Ivorian flexed his muscles on both sides of the ball.

@ASM

Defending with trademark authority and conviction, there was much to admire about how he made life extremely difficult for his adversaries.

Imposing himself physically on his foes, the way he got touchtight when foes dropped deep with their back to goal so they had no room to turn and face, powerfully shone in his aerial duels and was forceful in the challenge were real highlights.

Moreover, how he shrewdly used his immense athleticism, crisp reading of the play and searing speed to effectively track runners in behind and provide covering support amplified his impact.

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Meanwhile, on the offensive end, his marauding dribbles and incisive passing saw him serve as a key man towards ASM beating the press.

Relishing every chance to drive upfield with the ball at his feet, his strength, resistance to pressure and nifty skills ensured he helped propel his team upfield successfully.

Measured and creative with his distribution, not only did he recycle possession coherently, but he also broke the lines, launched wicked switches of play and found the feet of attackers sharply.

While this was only 45 minutes of action in a warm-up match, Singo’s quality yet again rose to the fore.

Golovin excels from deeper role

Deployed in a deeper midfield role alongside Mohamed Camara, Aleksandr Golovin’s display was full of upside. Taking full advantage of the extra time and space he enjoyed in this withdrawn position, this allowed him to dictate and control proceedings wonderfully for Les Monegasques.

Able to get on the ball in less populated zones with a full field of view, this granted him the platform to use his masterful passing to strike penetrative line breaking passes, exquisite through balls over the top and alter the angle of attacks at will.

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The fact he’s so intelligent and awake to vacant spaces all over, his astute movement notably ensured he was ideally placed to breathe life into attacks. So beneficial in terms of generating numerical and positional superiorities to bypass Servette’s first wave of harrying, this added to what a thorn in the side he was for the visitors.

@ASM

In addition, it also warranted mention how he drifted wider into the half spaces to essentially form a back three, as this allowed Ismail Jakobs and Kassoum Ouattara the freedom to get dangerous down the left knowing structural security was present behind them.

There were also occasions where he’d push into true number 10 locations when Felix Lemarechal checked deeper, thus meaning he could use his playmaking wizardry in more advanced zones.

Showcasing why he’s such an asset to Hutter’s team when fully fit with his multifaceted skill set and high footballing IQ, all associated with the club will be hoping he can remain healthy and keep producing the goods like he did vs. Servette.

Jakobs and Ouattara wreak havoc

Bringing so much to the table for ASM down the left, the dynamic duo of Jakobs and Ouattara were a vital source of offensive impetus for Les Rouge et Blanc.

Dovetailing superbly and interchanging smartly between operating at left wing or left-back, Servette found them extremely difficult to contain.

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Adding valuable width and depth to the home side’s attacks and doing a terrific job of stretching the opposition rearguard, much encouragement could be gained from their output.

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Be it edging infield to receive between the lines, marauding ahead on dangerous overlaps, surging forward on crafty underlaps or forming overloads in the nearby half space, they were a tremendous force to be reckoned with.

Placing constant doubt in the minds of defenders, their pace, directness and trickery gave ASM plenty of thrust, which was duly enhanced by the pair’s sharp crosses and cutbacks into the box.

Making some determined defensive contributions as well, all the signs were fantastic from these two, which will surely give them a crucial confidence boost heading into the next friendly in their quest to be firing on all cylinders when the season proper gets underway in August.