Bretagne-based Rennes came into the match full of confidence and vigour fresh off their Coupe de France win. They faced a dejected Monaco side in Ligue 1. Though both teams were on a winless run in Ligue 1, Rennes were buoyed by beating the dominant force in French football: Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, Monaco have not enjoyed a productive campaign with meager seven wins. They have drawn 12 and lost 15 this season. Their last win came in week 29 when they bested Lille 1-0. Les Monegasques now find themselves struggling at the bottom of the table with 33 points – 11 less than their opponents. They’re desperately in need of three points but failed, yet again at the hands of Rennes.
Starting XI: Koubek – Traore, Da Silva, Mexer, Bensebaini – Bourigeaud, Johansson, Camavinga, Lea Siliki – Del Castillo, Hunou
Bench: Diallo, Nyamsi, Zeffane, Gelin, Ben Arfa, Lauriente, Nkada
Coach: Julien Stephan
Starting XI: Sy – Sidibe, Jemerson, Badiashile, Ballo-Toure – Silva, Aholou – Martins, Golovin, Lopes – Falcao
Bench: Hagege, Naldo, Henrichs, N’Doram, Chadli, Sylla, Vinicius
Coach: Leonardo Jardim
Tactical analysis – Rennes’ Setup
Julien Stephan deployed his side with what seemed to be a classic 4-4-2. The French manager seemed to rotate his squad after their heavy battle with PSG. Benjamin Andre, Clement Grenier, Ismaila Sarr, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Mbaye Niang were relegated to the bench. Replaced by Jakob Johansson, Eduardo Camavinga, James Lea Siliki, Romain Del Castillo, and Adrien Hunou.
There seemed to be no changes at all to their defensive personnel. Del Castillo played in a flexible role as he seemed to roam out wide and drop deep quite often. Also swapping positions with James Lea Siliki who played in a wide left position.
Meanwhile, Hunou would stay forward and centre as he was the main man up front.
There were a few changes made by the gaffer as the game wore on, but they didn’t affect their shape of play.
Monaco also came off a loss against Paris Saint-Germain in their last Ligue 1 outing, losing 3-1 away from home.
Djibril Sidibe came into the starting lineup, replacing Benjamin Henrichs. Jemerson was moved from defensive midfield to centre-back to replace Kamil Glik. While former Strasbourg man Jean-Eudes Aholou slotted in alongside Adrien Silva in the middle of the park.
Leonardo Jardim’s side operated with a 4-2-3-1 system throughout the game. Minor changes were made as the game wore on. They were seen shifting into a 4-4-2 (or 4-2-4) formation in the second half.
Rennes’ deadly effective attacks
Tactically, both teams’ gameplans were rather simple and easy to identify. Monaco looked to play the ball out from the back, moving it laterally, while patiently moving forward.
Rennes, on the other hand, would press quite aggressively from the front while, keeping the defensive line high to remain compact in shape.
This strategy forced Monaco to transition much quicker. They were forced to do so through the central channels as Stephan’s side would try to swarm the ball carrier.
This has proven to be quite effective as Rennes managed to snatch up a quickfire double after just under 10 minutes of play.
Both goals were created in a similar fashion: Monaco losing possession in the middle of the park, while Rennes countering swiftly through the left wing. A smart finish by Hunou.
Monaco were on top in terms of possession, but Rennes clearly dominated the game off the ball. The principality were bereft of any confidence or creativity in attack and completely unorganised in defence.
Rennes were comfortable on the ball, disciplined in defence, and quick in transitions. In possession, Rennes tended to transition swiftly. They didn’t seem to fancy playing out from the back preferring to shift it quickly towards the more creative players. They tried to exploit the spaces on the flanks left by Monaco’s full-backs, who were often seen marauding forward.
Monaco also seemed to play with a very high defensive block to support their highly aggressive press. Their idea to put Les Rouges et Noir under immense pressure in possession was thwarted by a highly opportunistic Rennes outfit. They managed to launch attacks with blistering pace after evading the first wave of pressure.
After having led 2-0 very early in the first half, Rennes retreated to their defensive half and defended deep. Monaco were left perplexed and still trying to figure out how to break through their fortified wall.
Caught napping in the second half
Stephan and his men were definitely happy to end the first half with a 2-0 lead, but their opposition wasn’t.
Jardim made the important changes just after half time, replacing the underperforming Aholou with Carlos Vinicius to add some much-needed venom. Monaco showed some signs of improvement in the second half. Their improvement was down to Rennes’ failures rather than Monaco’s changes.
Jardim’s men were, of course, desperate to score a goal. They attacked their opponents with more aggression, they pressed with intent and compressed space centrally.
Rennes were able to weather the storm in the first 15 minutes but were clearly seen struggling. They were careless in defence and were duly punished with two goals in quick succession.
Rennes defended quite deep and looked to play in their own defensive half. As if they were toying with their opponents.
However, one mistake led to another, and Rennes found themselves on the back foot after losing possession. As a result, Monaco rotated the ball down the right wing and found Sidibe, who in turn crossed towards an unmarked Falcao inside the box.
The closest man to him, Hamari Traore, did not mark him tightly. Too many defenders were caught ball-watching and ultimately paid the price. Rennes failed to adapt and were punished by Monaco time and time again.
Monaco advanced down the left wing with Ballo-Toure. The full-back crossed the ball for Monaco’s forwards. Johansson tried to clear but his attempt was poor. Sidibe who volleyed it straight to the goalkeeper was unable to hold it and spilled it right into the path of Falcao.
Once again the Colombian striker found himself free of any markers. He thanked the Bretons by delivering a left-footed volley into the keeper’s bottom right corner. The goal proved to be the last one of the game.
Stephan was clearly unsatisfied by the efforts put in by his players. Both teams had their moments in each half but neither were able to dominate the game. Monaco had more possession in the game with 52%. They also had more attempts on goal with 14, but only five (35.71%) were on target. Rennes managed four shots on target in 11 attempts, a 36.36% success rate.
Both teams xG in Ligue 1, proved to be quite effective despite their poor shot accuracy, as Monaco had a total of 1.7 xG value while Rennes had 1.81.
Lessons to be learned
Two counter-attack goals gifted by a terrible Monaco defence and two seemingly preventable goals by Rennes resulted in a drab 2-2 draw.
The match didn’t live up to expectations. Both teams lacked the resolve to win the game. There was no fighting spirit, high tempo, end-to-end football.
In this tactical analysis, we can see how Monaco does not look like ending their poor run of form any time soon. For Rennes, their Ligue 1 season is over after securing European qualification through winning the Coupe de France last week.
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