Strasbourg swat aside Monaco as they set their sights on Europe


After suffering a difficult start to the season, Strasbourg have won four of their last five games.

Even though Monaco are still struggling to seek out their feet under Robert Moreno – and were twiddling with a midfield three of Tiémoué Bakayoko, Aleksandr Golovin, and Cesc Fabregas – Strasbourg’s performance on Saturday evening suggests they’ll be back to their best. Given the state of the Monaco defence, we should always not anoint Thierry Laurey’s side as Champions League contenders just yet. But a 3-1 victory at the Stade Louis II is a powerful result – and that they could easily have won by a wider margin.

Strasbourg have won four of their last five league matches and are now up to eighth within the table, just three points behind fourth-place Montpellier. With matches against bottom side Toulouse and struggling Reims within the next few weeks, their impressive record may still improve. the ecu places are within their grasp. judi bola online

Laurey has evolved this team with subtly this season, while also weathering recent injuries to Lébo Mothiba, Nuno Da Costa and therefore the versatile Anthony Caci. Strasbourg played an expansive 3-5-2 last season, with right-sided wing-back Kenny Lala the star man and veteran central midfielder Dimitri Liénard adding creativity.

Laurey has used that formation occasionally this season, but on Saturday he employed a midfield diamond, with Alexander Djiku repurposed as a defensive midfielder. twiddling with a diamond gave Laurey’s men a numerical advantage in midfield while also making the foremost of the dynamism of Ibrahima Sissoko and Youssouf Fofana, whose eager running made Strasbourg effective on the counter. With Djiku screening the centre-back pairing of Lamine Koné and Stefan Mitrovic, and Sissoko also ending play, Strasbourg were ready to cut their opponents to ribbons. The player who did most of that cutting was Adrien Thomasson, who bossed the match.

Thomasson grew up within the town of Bourg within the French Alps and commenced his career at Evian, where he shone at a young age. When Evian were relegated from Ligue 1 in 2015, he moved to Nantes, but it had been a not an excellent fit. He was often played out wide by Michel Der Zakarian and Claudio Ranieri, managers who emphasised graft over technical.

Thomasson clearly had talent but, by the time he signed for Strasbourg on a free transfer within the summer of 2018, it appeared like a rather desperate move. The club had barely survived in Ligue 1 that season, finished one point above the relegation play-off place. However, he has found a kindred spirit in Laurey, a manager who values talent and flair, goodbye as players are willing to mix these qualities with diligence . Laurey has nearly always used Thomasson centrally and his performances clearly reflect the wisdom of this decision. Thomasson was brilliant against Monaco on Saturday. He scored one goal and was only denied a second by an outstanding stop from Benjamin Lecomte.

Thomasson has developed a robust relationship with Ludovic Ajorque, a hulking striker who boasts a deceptively refined touch. Against Monaco he was also helped by the winger Kévin Zohi, whose pace and skill to stretch play make him the perfect foil for a more physical partner, be it Ajorque or Mothiba. Zohi remains only 22 and his integration into the primary team has been fitful due to injury, but on Saturday he showed what proportion his unselfish running can complement the more direct play of his teammates.