Football: Dominant AS Monaco take top spot in Ligue 1

AS Monaco celebrating victory against RC Lens

AS Monaco returned to the top of the Ligue 1 table thanks to a dominant victory over RC Lens (3-0) at the Stade Louis II on Saturday.

The fixture was touted as Monaco’s first real test, and they passed with flying colours. Last season, Les Monégasques lost both matches against Lens by a three-goal margin, but it was Monaco’s turn to return the favour.

Under Adi Hütter, Monaco look revitalised. So often ponderous in possession under Philippe Clement, Hütter has stated that he wants his side to play “fun” football, and they are certainly doing that. No Ligue 1 team comes close to Monaco’s 13 goals in four games.

Lens were sluggish from the offset. Monaco quickly found their rhythm and comfortably bypassed Les Sang et Or’s porous midfield throughout. The man-of-the-moment, Takumi Minamino saw an effort tipped over, but from the resulting corner, Wilfried Singo scored his first goal for the Principality club, heading home Caio Henrique’s cross.

Adi Hütter equals Claudio Ranieri’s record

Monaco would double their lead before the break. Minamino found himself with the time and space to pick out Aleksandr Golovin in the box, who finished first time past Brice Samba.

The half time break didn’t stem Monaco’s momentum. It was once again Henrique with the assist as Guillermo Maripán headed home the third and final goal of the encounter.

Folarin Balogun came on for his debut late in the second half, and almost got on the scoresheet, but he went to ground after rounding Samba, and instead of earning a penalty, he received a yellow card for simulation. Regardless, Monaco sauntered to victory to retake top spot in Ligue 1. Hütter meanwhile, is the first manager since Claudio Ranieri in 2013 to have earned 10 points in his first four Ligue 1 matches as Monaco manager.

“The idea is to have an aggressive style of football.”

Sporting Director Thiago Scuro reacted the Monaco’s offensive festival in the post-match mixed zone. “The idea is to have an aggressive style of football, to play forward, to play on the front [foot]. This kind of football clearly creates a lot of chances. It’s good that our players are using these opportunities to score,” he said.

However, despite Monaco’s strong start, and the relative struggles of the Principality club’s rivals, Scuro isn’t getting ahead of himself. “In football, what counts is the way that things finish, not the way they start. It’s very good to have a good beginning, but in the end we know the championship is decided in the last five or six games. We always have to be thinking about the next game,” he told Monaco Life. 

It will be hoped that the upcoming international break won’t break Monaco’s rhythm. The Principality club next face Lorient on 17th September, before welcoming rivals Nice and Marseille to the Stade Louis II later this month.


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Photo source: AS Monaco