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What we learned from Juventus' demolition job away at AS Monaco

Thursday 4th May 2017
Last night, we witnessed what happens when the immovable object meets the irresistible force. The top scorers in Europe went toe-to-toe with the epitome of resolute defending. AS Monaco welcomed Juventus to the Stade Louis II and what followed blew our minds.

After all was said and done, it was a Gonzalo Higuain brace that tipped the scale well & truly in favour of the Italian giants. In an 180-minute tie, it's never over till the whistle blows, but two away goals with a home leg to play seems to place the ball firmly in Juve's corner.    

Here's what we learnt from the epic encounter.

Kylian Mbappe is the real deal

A lot has been said about the 18-year old wonderkid but last night, against the best defence in the tournament, Kylian Mbappe proved his worth. Juventus are notoriously known for their rugged no-nonsense defending, often turning world class strikers into puppies. The same could not be said for Kylian Mbappe, despite not getting on the scoresheet, the Frenchman ran rings around the feared Italian back three.

Mbappe completed 100% of dribbling take-ons, made 3 crosses and achieved 66% passing accuracy in the final third. If Monaco were to ever salvage something from the tie, it was going to be through the craftsmanship of the 18-year old. On another day the teenager could have slotted two past Buffon, but alas it wasn't to be, perhaps we'll see that in the return leg.

Dani Alves is still one of Europe's best right-backs

Yes I know he had his peak back in the 2010/11 season but the Brazilian has seemingly never stopped being so brilliant. At the age of 33, Dani Alves proved last night that he's still the epitome of modern day defending. Whilst man marking the tricky Thomas Lemar out the game, Dani Alves was simultaneously terrorising Djibril Sidibe at the other end.

Alves broke down the right on several occasions, leading to two world class assists for the ever present Gonzalo Higuain. The Brazilian completed 100% of his take-ons, provided 3 crosses, made 7 clearances and won 3 tackles. It was a truly complete performance from the full-back.

His performance in the semi-final of the Champions League makes the decision for Barcelona to let him go even the more bizarre. While Messi & co. are at home watching the competition, Dani Alves is on the grand stage excelling to the highest of levels. The Cules have also been forced to play an inept Sergi Roberto at right-back, a player who has seemingly cost them the La Liga and Champions League titles.

Monaco can't handle 3rd man runs

Even though Monaco have scored close to 100 goals this season, questions have always arisen about their defensive solidity. In the process of scoring so many goals, they've also conceded nearly 30, that have cost them dearly in certain competitions, most notably the Coupe de Ligue and Champions League. Last night that came back to haunt Leonardo Jardim's team as Juventus exposed the French team time after time through calculated attacks.

A triangle attack of Higuain, Dybala and Mandzukic, Juventus were able to expose every half space in Monaco's defence. They constantly overloaded Monaco through well-timed counterattacks, resulting in two precious away goals. However, on a different night, two could have easily been four.

Prediction



It's impossible to rule out the best attack in Europe but Allegri's tactical nous may be enough to nullify them. The Italian has done a job on the revered MSN and then muted Monaco's free-flowing attack, there's not much the man can't do. In the second leg, I'm sure we'll witness a valiant response from Monaco, but it won't be enough to counter the damage already done by Higuain.
Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with ample amounts of passion for both Cristiano Ronaldo & Real Madrid. I'm one of those bandwagonist hipster fans that will claim to know everything about football, but only watches the El Clasico outside of the Premier League. Forgive me, I'm trying. Oh yeah, #WengerOut. 


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