Groupe Élite end England tour with narrow defeat to Arsenal

After dazzling under the bright lights of Old Trafford, AS Monaco’s Groupe Élite, as well as Monaco Life, made the trip down to London as the team faced Arsenal in the Premier League International Cup.

A different kind of challenge awaited Damien Perrinelle’s young side on Monday night. Coming down from Old Trafford, the Groupe Élite were brought back down to earth with a trip to Meadow Park, a stadium with a “soul” and “that breathes football,” according to manager Perrinelle.

A few hundred packed into the stadium, home to non-league side Borehamwood on a typically British winter evening, including performance director James Bunce and Chelsea-bound technical director Lawrence Stewart. Monaco fielded a much-changed side. Due to the individual talent within the squad, many players such as Eliesse Ben Seghir were away on international duty, representing their countries’ youth sides. After picking up a knock against Manchester United, Yllan Okou was also unfit for the encounter.

In goal, Lisandru Olmeta replaced Yann Liénard, who is away with the France U20 squad, and he almost got off to the worst possible start. He was caught dozing in possession and was robbed of the ball. An instinctive reaction allowed him to regain control of the ball and prevent an easy Arsenal opener.

Despite controlling possession, Monaco struggled to create clear-cut chances, whilst Arsenal were effectively evading the Principality side’s press and creating chances of their own.

Olmeta made up for his poor start with some brilliant stops to deny the home side, whilst at the other end, Salatiel Decarpentrie, who was a bright spark throughout the night, made an impressive run before testing the Arsenal goalkeeper with a low shot.

Arsenal did take the lead midway through the half through Catalin Cirjan. However, Monaco continued to dictate the rhythm. As it was against Manchester United, Monaco’s midfield was their greatest asset. Felix Lemarechal pulled out a man-of-the-match performance, showing why he is so highly rated and why he is so often training with the first-team squad.

Soungoutou Magassa, who has also played his first minutes for the first team was once again impressive, as was Mamadou Coulibaly. If all three continue to progress and remain at the Principality club, Monaco’s midfield will be an exciting prospect in a few years’ time.

Photo by Monaco Life

However, in the driving London rain, this wasn’t to be their night. Off the bench, Jack Henry-Francis doubled Arsenal’s lead. Monaco hit back through Coulibaly, who scored in consecutive matches, after a brilliant ball from substitute Aurelien Platret, but Perrinelle’s side couldn’t find the leveler.

What is interesting is that we played against a team that is completely different to what we faced in Manchester. With lots of individual talents, lots of speed, a good team structure and once again, it wasn’t decided by much. We like pressing high, they managed to get out on numerous occasions, but we also managed to get the ball back with that press. I think it’s really an instructive match for the players, for the team, for us as a club,” Perrinelle told Monaco Life.

He continued, “The report from the trip is rather positive in the end because we played a good match-up in Manchester. After that, we lost a few players to international duty. Despite everything, those that featured tonight showed up and showed that they were at the level. But there is work to do. If we want to rival the best academies, we have to repeat these kinds of matches in order to raise our level.”

Photo of Damien Perrinelle by AS Monaco

On the performance of the impressive Coulibaly, the coach said, “Mamadou is a player who has a habit of shining in the big matches. In the U19 final against Nantes last season, he scored two goals, he scored at Old Trafford and he has now scored here. He is a player that is improving, and who clearly has things still to learn, but we feel that over the last month/ six weeks, he is on the right path. We hope he continues like that and that soon he can have his chance with the first team.”

The team returned to the Principality early on Tuesday, enriched by the instructive, informative, and memorable experience of their English tour, which will serve these young players in their continued development.


Photo by AS Monaco


Another F1 race on the Riviera?

Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali has once again opened up the possibility of a race just down the coast from Monaco, in Nice, where the city’s mayor has previously rubbished the plans.

The idea of another Formula One Grand Prix, just 20km away from the Principality, was first proposed in the summer. However, the plans were quickly dismissed by Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice.

But according to Domenicali, the project is still very much alive: “There is a project in Nice,” said the sport’s CEO at the recent Mexico Grand Prix.

The French Grand Prix will be dropped from the calendar next year. The Paul Ricard circuit, located near Marseille, has hosted the race in recent years, but the grid will not be returning there next year.

Recently, the sport’s owners, Liberty Media, have taken a more global perspective, moving away from the traditional European races. The Belgian and Monaco Grand Prix’s were both retained, but only after lengthy, difficult negotiations. Notably, there will be three races in the United States next year. As well as the American Grand Prix in Texas, the 2022 grid visited Miami for the first time, and will next year race on the streets of Las Vegas.

However, there is still the possibility of adding more European races to what is an increasingly congested calendar (23 races next year).

“There are lots of other countries that are pushing a lot for a Grand Prix and I hope that France, an automobile country, will have the same attitude in the future because France is very important,” Domenicali added.

The F1 CEO concluded by stating that whilst there is a project, it is only in its preliminary stages.

“We have to see, we have to check its feasibility, its business plan, lots of things, and I hope we can talk about that very soon.”

The possibility of France being on the calendar on a rotation basis has not been ruled out, although according to Domenicali, this system may be utilised from 2024 or 2025.

Already a host of the most iconic Formula One race on the calendar, the Riviera could soon welcome a second race and become a veritable hub of the motorsport world.


Photo by Scuderia Ferrari at Paul Ricard Circuit

Premier League highlights: Shock Manchester City defeat allows Arsenal to extend lead

Manchester City succumbed to a shock injury-time defeat against Brentford on Saturday, allowing Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points.

This weekend marked the final gameweek before the World Cup. The prestigious international tournament begins this Sunday, and domestic action doesn’t restart until Boxing Day. Arsenal will therefore hold top spot in the Premier League on Christmas Day, although the London club have failed to convert that position on the last five occasions.

Manchester City 1-2 Brentford – The biggest shock at the weekend was at the Etihad Stadium. Ivan Toney, who narrowly missed out on England’s World Cup squad scored a dramatic 98th-minute winner to give Arsenal to increase their lead at the top.

Liverpool 3-1 Southampton – A Darwin Núñez double was enough to secure a Liverpool victory at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp’s side move up to sixth as a result.

Bournemouth 3-0 Everton – There was indignation at the Vitality Stadium as Everton lost to the Cherries twice in the space of a week. Frank Lampard’s men confronted the angry traveling crowd post-match, as he and his players unsuccessfully attempted to calm tempers. Everton look like they may once again be embroiled in a relegation battle.

West Ham United 0-2 Leicester City- The Brendan Rodgers revival is in full swing. James Maddison celebrated his call-up to the England World Cup squad with a goal. After languishing in the relegation zone for many weeks, Leicester are now steadily climbing the table.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Leeds United – A late Rodrigo Bentancur double stunned Leeds and overturned a 3-2 deficit. Antonio Conte’s men were hopeless defensively but could rely on individual brilliance to get them out of trouble.

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Crystal Palace – Morgan Gibbs-White scored the only goal of the game. It was a crucial win for Forest, who nonetheless remain in the relegation zone.

Newcastle United 1-0 Chelsea – After a bright start at Stamford Bridge, Graham Potter’s Chelsea have hit a difficult patch. They have now lost their last three in all competitions. Newcastle, meanwhile, look the real deal and are soaring in third.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Arsenal – A top versus bottom clash at Molineux. A Martin Odegaard double sealed the points for Arteta’s side, who continue to state their champion credentials.

Brighton 1-2 Aston Villa – Unai Emery has now won his first two games back in the Premier League. Despite conceding in the first minute, Villa turned things around thanks to a Danny Ings brace, which gave the away side all three points.

Fulham 1-2 Manchester United – Teenager Alejandro Garnacho snatched a late win for Manchester United at Craven Cottage. The young Argentinian winger outpaced the defenders to latch onto a through ball and give the Red Devils the win with the final kick of the game.




YCM member forced to withdraw from Route du Rhum

Monaco Yacht Club member and Route du Rhum competitor Oren Nataf has been forced to withdraw from the trans-Atlantic race after sustaining damage while Boris Herrmann is still well and truly in the race.

Amateur sailor Nataf sustained the damage right at the beginning of the race, and was quickly forced to return to Saint-Malo late on Wednesday. “We gybed just before releasing the crew and the sail tore in two. We don’t really know why. It was only three years old and not in bad condition,” said Nataf.

“We looked at all possible solutions with Sidney Gavignet, who is supporting me on this race. We could have had the mainsail repaired, but as I’m not an experienced sailor it wasn’t reasonable to go back out to sea with a sail that was not 100% and could tear again. Also, the weather window is closing. I was all set to leave but that’s the way it is. It’s better that it happened now and not in the middle of the Atlantic. Sailing is a mechanical sport. I would like to thank all the team who have helped me. We will come back stronger in four years,” he continued.

The rest of the flotilla, including YCM boat Malizia-Seaexplorer are still en route to Guadeloupe. Sailed by Boris Herrmann, the Monaco-based team are currently 13th in the IMOCA group and 254 nautical miles away from leader APIVIA, sailed by Charlie Dalin.

Check out Boris Herrmann’s latest video below:

Photo by Yacht Club of Monaco