Ligue 1 / Strasbourg – Monaco: Summer, the great battle of the ASM

Monaco has its specialties. Some he aims to keep, like that ability to set a hell of a pace in the final sprint. And others that he would be happy to get rid of, like this annoying tendency to stagnate at the start of his championship. It’s a bit of a recap of his last two seasons. Finishing well allowed him to finish third in the standings each time. And a poor start prevented him from aiming even higher. To go from podium contender status to title contender status, the Monegasques know what they need to correct. A successful summer is the key to aiming even higher.

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It is an understatement to say that the ASM has made a habit of struggling during the summer period. Last season, they had just one narrow victory, with two draws and three defeats, during the first six matches. So irresistible a few months earlier (7 wins in their last 9 games in 2020-21), the team led by Niko Kovac had dropped a whopping 13 points during this period and only appeared in 14th place in the table. Monaco finished the season 15 points behind the champion, Paris, and 2 behind their runner-up, OM. Without his rotten summer, the story would have been different. And maybe more beautiful.

The challenge of the Champions League

To a lesser degree, ASM had already experienced ignition delay the previous season. After an acceptable summer (2 wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat), he had experienced a huge air pocket between mid-September and mid-October and was in a modest 10th place on the evening of the 8th. However, just four points off second place. But four points, it was precisely the difference that had separated them from PSG, runner-up to Lille, at the time of the ruling. Which, already, fuels great regrets in relation to his lost start to the season.

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Monaco knows where the shoe pinches. However, correcting the situation is a delicate task. Like last season, the Monegasques had to face the 3rd preliminary phase of the Champions League, and a possible play-off, in their summer preparation. The challenge of qualifying for the group stage is a waste of both physical and mental energy, which can have a negative impact on the club’s results in the league. This was verified last summer, although it was not the only explanation for the bad start that the Monegasques took.

Very heavy to begin with

But the most difficult obstacle to overcome in order to start the championship well is, without a doubt, the particularly indigestible calendar that the Monegasques have inherited until the end of the summer. With no less than six teams in the program that ended the previous year in the first part of the table to face during the first seven days: three members of the Top 5 (PSG, Rennes and Nice) as well as Lyon, Lens and Strasbourg. , first opponent of the Monegasques, on Saturday in Meinau.

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The trip to Alsace symbolizes quite well the complexity of the start of the season that awaits the players of the Principality. It will take place between the two legs of the Champions League 3rd qualifying round against PSV Eindhoven, and just three days before a dangerous game in the Netherlands where ASM will play their play-off qualifier after the draw granted Wednesday to Louis. – II. What complicates the preparation of a duel with a competitive Racing, pushed by its public, and which has made a habit of causing misery to the Principality club (only one defeat in the last eight matches).

Ready for battle

The task is quite delicate, but Monaco could expect it. The ASM has been prepared accordingly. He already has the experience of last season and knows the mistakes he must not repeat. Above all, he has the benefit of meticulous physical work carried out under the orders of Philippe Clément, a key parameter given the sequence of matches against quality opponents. The Belgian coach can also count on a large squad, which could be further strengthened at the end of the summer, even if Aurélien Tchouaméni has not yet been replaced.

If their summer promises to be a big battle, Monaco are ready to go to war. The fights promise to be tough and the ASM will not be entitled to the slightest relaxation. But the game is worth the candle. If he emerges from this strong program unscathed, if he has managed to find a place at the top of the table at the end of the summer period, the Rocher club will then have good certainty about the quality of their play and that of their cash. He will be able to show the highest ambitions. And we hope, at last, to complete a season without having to regret the mistakes of the summer.

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