Dijon and Monaco shared the spoils following a 1-1 draw in late February. As perhaps expected, Monaco saw more of the ball as they looked to find a way through the stubborn Dijon defence, but it was actually Dijon who took the lead 10 minutes into the second period. Monaco enjoyed their best spells when pressing high and winning the ball in dangerous areas but for a while it seemed they would be made to rue missed opportunities, primarily through Slimani who managed to hit the side netting with two guilt edged chances.
At times they looked bereft of ideas in midfield areas, but their threat from set pieces eventually bailed Monaco out of trouble. With the likes of Slimani, Jovetic, Bakayoko, Maripan and Badiashile all standing at six foot or taller, Monaco’s aerial threat saw them equalise as the ball was nodded down from a free kick to Maripan who found the back of the net.
Dijon set up in a 4-2-3-1 system and looked dangerous on the counter attack. Their creativity was hindered by the early injury to Chouiar, but his replacement Mama Baldé looked threatening with his pace and skill in transitional phases. It was Baldé who opened the scoring for Dijon, as he latched on to Silva’s loose pass before evading a couple of challenges and slotting home. They were for the most part well organised defensively and may well feel they could have run away with all three points, with Tavares missing a golden opportunity in the dying embers of the match.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Moroccan
- Age: 24
- Date of birth: 30/03/1996
- Current Club: Dijon
- Career: FUS Rabat, Dijon
- Position: Centre Back
- Secondary Position: Left Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Aguerd put in a really impressive performance from centre back, rarely putting a foot wrong throughout. The 6’2 defender was solid at the back and made several interventions to prevent Monaco breaking through. He displayed a decent burst of pace to keep up with atatckers and make recoveries, and he won his fair share of aerial duels in defensive areas up against the likes of Slimani.
He was brave when required and put his body on the line to make blocks and tackles. The 24 year old was clever with the timing of his tackles, looking to nip in front of his opponent and get his body in the way. However, he was occasionally beaten due to his lack of agility when turning as he was quite slow when changing direction. He displayed good composure when defending, rarely overcommitting and seeming happy to stand up to his man. Once he had committed, Aguerd was quite no nonsense and made sure to get through the ball and man if necessary.
What most impressed me about his performance, was the Moroccan’s reading of the game in defensive phases of play. Aguerd was able to see dangerous situations developing and act accordingly to prevent them from escalating, by either dropping deep to make a covering run to match the run of the forward, or by stepping out of the defensive line to make a blcok or interception. His defensive positioning and awareness made him vital to Dijon’s defensive structure as he sensed danger and moved to prevent it.
Aguerd was just as composed in possession as he was out of it, rarely appearing to be rushed and using his stronger left foot to make passes into the midfield or over the top of the opposition defence. He did not give the ball away often and was happy to go sideways or backwards to retain possession, however, he was capable of playing accurate long balls into the channels for the forwards to run on to and making some crsip passes into the feet of the central midfield players. He didn’t drive out of defence with the ball but seemed confident and enjoyed a good overall game at the heart of the defence.
- Nationality: Moroccan
- Age: 22
- Date of birth: 21/10/1997
- Current Club: Schalke 04
- Career: Lille, Schalke 04, Dijon (L)
- Position: Left Back
- Secondary Position: Left Midfield
- Preferred foot: Left
Hamza Mendyl had a decent game at left back, offering an attacking outlet whilst also seeming to be for the most part solid defensively. The full back was willing to get forward and timed his runs well to venture into the opposition half and offer support to the winger. He linked up with teammates effectively in wide areas and delivered some dangerous crosses on occasion, although the inconsistency of his final ball was one of his drawbacks in this game.
His close control was to a good standard and allowed him to take on his opposite number with the ball at his feet and he took up threatening positions in attacking zones. However, he was caught waiting for the ball once or twice and was guilty of wasting one or two promising opportunities.
The 5’10 defender has a sturdy build which allows him to compete physically though he was quite clumsy in some defensive situations, needlessly committing 5 fouls in this match (the most of any player). A couple of these fouls were in his own half and gave the opposition a chance to load the box with their aerial threats and deliver a cross unchallenged. He did show some bravery to make blocks and one important tackle, but the numerous fouls hindered his overall defensive output.
On the whole, Mendyl offered an attacking outlet and seemed defensively competent, but the clumsiness of his challenges let him down somewhat.
- Nationality: English
- Age: 22
- Date of birth: 31/05/1998
- Current Club: Montpellier
- Career: Arsenal, Charlton Athletic (L), Preston North End (L), Juventus, Dijon (L), Montpellier
- Position: Striker
- Secondary Position: Left Wing
- Preferred foot: Right
Mavididi had an underwhelming match, yet showed enough quality to display his potential. Swapping between either wing throughout, the Englishman struggled to gain a foothold in the game before being withdrawn for the final 20 minutes. He tried to make something happen when receiving the ball, and displayed great skill and pace to drive and beat opponents, but his decision making let him down as having beaten two defenders he would be tackled by the third before being able to release the ball. He adopted good wide positions and looked to drive infield but offered very little in the way of end product. He made one or two nice passes infield and threatened to get on the end of crosses towards the back post but was unable to direct anything meaningful on goal.
He tracked back effectively in the early stages but before coming off he began to fall behind when tracking his runner, losing concentration and leaving the full back exposed. He was also quite weak in challenges at times and lost several aerial duels.
Overall it was a quiet game for Mavididi who showed his quality with the ball at his feet but exposed room for improvement with his end product and decision making.