Rennes – AS Monaco: What Happens When You Leave Your Defense Exposed? (2-0)
In a night that would shape but not settle the final standings in the race for Europe, Rennes struck an invaluable victory over AS Monaco. It was a big win for Rennes and another stumble in Monaco’s tragicomic pursuit of European football.
Tactical analysis and match report by Nick Hartland.
A few weeks ago Phillippe Clement brought out an old football cliché: “the next four games will be like finals.” There was some truth to the cliché as the Principality would face the three teams directly below them, and their immediate rivals in the chase for the Europa League spot.
Since trotting out the line, Clement watched as a five-point cushion evaporated in a draw with Lille and an emphatic loss to Lyon. To lose against Rennes would see the Brittany side overtake Monaco in the league on goal difference, and depending on the result at Lille could see Monaco drop entirely out of a European position.
With this in mind, Clement reverted back to a 4-4-2 formation after the experiment with a back three in recent weeks. Alexander Nübel started in goal with Ismail Jakobs, Guillermo Maripán, Axel Disasi, and Ruben Aguilar. On the flanks, Aleksandr Golovin and Vanderson on either side of the midfield of Mohamed Camara and Youssouf Fofana. Up front, Wissam Ben Yedder partnered with Salim Ben Seghir.
If Rennes could beat Monaco it would put the side on the precipice of European football for a sixth year in a row. However, a failure to win would likely be the end of Bruno Génésio despite his impressive . . .