Last week Juventus defeated Monaco 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League Semi-Final tie, courtesy of a Higuain brace. The Italian champions were successful in taming the best attacking team in Europe this season, a team that had scored 146 goals this season before the match. The win has made Juventus clear favourites to progress to the final, particularly because of the immense advantage due to the two away goals. However, it’ll be a mistake to underestimate Monaco who can still manage to turn the match around. So, let’s have a look at the tactics they could deploy to do so-
All Out Attack
The most sensible thing for Monaco obviously would be to go for an all-out attack. Jardim should play all of his star attackers like Falcao, Mbappe, Germain and Bernardo Silva. Even though Juve’s defence is the best in the world at the moment, such a devastating front line could easily help them crawl back into the tie.
Monaco have usually lined up in a 4-2-2-2 formation this season, but its now time for them to shake up this system. They need to opt for an attacking 3-4-3 formation, with Falcao, Mbappe and Germain in attack, and Fabinho, Bernardo Silva, Moutinho and Bakayoko in the midfield. A three-man defence could be enough to contain the likes of Higuain and Dybala, particularly because Fabinho and Bakayoko, being natural defenders, can drop deep as and when required.
Conquer the Midfield
Needless to say, Juventus have the best defence in the world. They also have a world-class attack, featuring superstars like Dybala, Higuain, Mandzukic and Cuadrado. However, the only area they lack in is the midfield. Their midfield is still great, but relatively less exciting than their two other areas. So, if Monaco wants to have any chance of coming back into this tie, they need to dominate the midfield. After all, players like Pjanic and Marchisio can be thwarted by in-form defensive midfielders Bakayoko and Fabinho. And if they are successful in doing so, consider the battle half won.
Marking them Out
Monaco cannot afford to think of anything other than attacking in the second leg. But the Juventus attack is so sharp that if they manage to score a goal there could be no way back for the French club. And the only way to restrict Juve is by man-marking both Dybala and Higuain, both of whom are potentially dangerous target men. And if these two are contained, Juventus won’t be able to easily score another, giving Monaco liberty to focus solely on attacking.
Offside Traps and Long Ball Approach
Monaco could resort to two cunning but effective techniques- Offside Traps and Long Ball Approach. It is well-known that Higuain and Mandzukic aren’t known for their hold-up play and rarely drop deep. They always look to run behind defences, and if Monaco play with an offside trap, they could minimise Juve’s attacking threat. Similarly, they could take advantage of their height in the final third through long balls. Juve’s defence is tall and solid, but Monaco’s long ball approach mixed with skilful link-up play could spell wonders for the French side.
Confidence is the Key
Finally, Monaco need a lot of confidence if they are to successfully overturn the deficit. Juventus are known to put pressure on their opponents, but if Monaco are psychologically solid enough they can manage to defy the odds against the favourites. If in Europe, Juventus has the Best Defence, Monaco has the Best Attack, and they need to keep that in mind.
Personally, I feel that it would be almost impossible for Monaco to make a comeback against a team of Juventus’ stature. But one cannot make the mistake of undermining the French club, who have dominated teams like Dortmund, Manchester City and PSG in all competitions this season.