Even though AS Monaco were unable to draw 1-1 with Strasbourg despite dominating much of the game, there were still some positives to be learned from their tactical performance. With this in mind, it gives us the opportunity to focus on three tactical points to remember from the highly contested shock at the Louis II stadium.
Central midfielders look to wide overloads
Seeing that Strasbourg were keen to protect the central areas in their 5-3-2 defensive form, Niko Kovac asked central midfielders Jean Lucas and Youssouf Fofana (depending on which side the ball was on) to fall into the halves respectively. left and right spaces to help they progress smoothly.
It was also important to note that by the time they were in those temporary full-back positions, full-backs Caio Henrique and Ruben Aguilar could then enjoy the freedom to move forward knowing that Lucas and Fofana were providing cover. .
Allowing Monaco to take advantage of strategic overloads in large areas and attract the broad central midfielders of Strasbourg, the central midfielder duo of the Monegasques was essential for Monaco’s forward wingers and full-backs to form 2v1 against the opposing rear. Additionally, the way forwards Kevin Volland and Wissam Ben Yedder would pin close center-backs further compounded the issues, as it further isolated Strasbourg full-backs.
Suddenly, Monaco were able to exploit their advantage here to find joy with their cleverly designed mechanics to constantly put the racers’ baseline under pressure.
Whenever Julien Stephan’s Strasbourg attempted to build from behind, Monaco would seek to implement a high press to stifle the away team. Eager to regain possession of the high ball to be able to immediately recover the ball near the goal, Kovac’s men did a solid job harassing their opponents, especially in the first half.
Facing Stephan’s three at the back with a midfielder nearby, Ben Yedder and Volland would usually be joined by Aleksandr Golovin or Sofiane Diop to watch them. Fofana and Lucas would mark the two remaining central midfielders (Ibrahima Sissoko and Adrien Thomasson), while the full-backs would jump up to follow Strasbourg wingers.
Axel Disasi and Guillermo Maripan would then be left to take care of Habib Diallo and Ludovic Ajorque.
Aiming to get them primarily to the right sideline to compress the space they had to work with (as can be seen in the graphic below), Les Rouge et Blanc did it well by moving aggressively to use the sideline as an additional defender.
In such cases, it was remarkable how Monaco would leave the center-back on the other side free knowing that he was not accessible, thus allowing them to have a spare defender to help the striking duo of Strasbourg.
Exploit the channels
Another method of attack which bore fruit for Monaco was to arrive in Strasbourg by the canals. Knowing that the Strasbourg full-backs would jump to squeeze the Monaco full-backs, this then paved the way for wingers, Golovin and Diop, to aim with clever runs.
While this is a straightforward approach, the way the near-forward ball would occupy their nearby center-back, in combination with the clever timing of Golovin and Diop, ensured Monaco of frequent success.
To face the threat, Strasbourg would therefore have to cross a central rear to fight the riders, which makes them lose central compactness. This then generated central gaps within Strasbourg’s backline for Volland and Ben Yedder to explore.
Generating danger while manipulating the organization of their enemies to ultimately create space in the center of the final third, Monaco certainly deserved credit for their clever execution of this tactic.