FC Metz – Match Report vs AS Monaco 30/08/2020

FC Metz fell to a 1-0 defeat as they hosted AS Monaco prior to the internatioanl break. In what was a scrappy affair, with neither team able to get into full flow, the visitors took the lead on the 22nd minute through a Badiashile strike following a set piece situation. Metz toiled hard, and had 14 efforts at goal compared to Monaco’s 3, but they were unable to find the back of the net despite their opposition being reduced to 10 men early in the second half after the dismissal of young midfielder Youssouf Fofana.

Metz lined up in a 4-3-3 system, with the front three of Nguette, Niane and Boulaya offering plenty of pace and trickery, whilst Maïga and Angban provided creativity from deeper areas. Furthermore, both full backs Centonze and Udol were asked to get forward when given the opportunity. In the end it came down to a lack of quality and killer instinct in the final third as, despite applying plenty of pressure and going through transitional phases effectively, they were unable to find a way past the Monaco defence. Metz manager Vincent Hognon will be disappointed that his team were unable to get anything out of the game, but he will be pleased by some of the quality his side put on show in the opening fixture of their season.

Ratings

  • 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

Victorien Angban

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 29/09/1996
  • Current Club: Metz
  • Career: Chelsea, Sint-Truiden (L), Granada (L), Waasland-Beveren (L), Metz (L), Metz
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Victorien Angban was impressive in central midfield, before being withdrawn after an hour in favour of a striker since Monaco had been reduced to ten men. The Ivorian midfielder cut a composed figure in possession and always looked to get forward when he had the ball at his feet, providing a positive drive to his team from deeper areas of the pitch. He displayed great vision and passing technique to pick out tricky passes to teammates in wide or advanced areas of the pitch.

His crisp and firm passes made it difficult for them to be cut out, whilst also injecting some pace into the attack. As well as being positive, Angban was fairly efficient when recycling possession, retaining an 88% pass completion rate in midfield before he was replaced. His close control and first touch were also impressive and allowed him to turn into space when receiving a pass, setting him up to either drive with the ball or pick out a teammate.

The 23 year old was particularly effective at dribbling with the ball, completing the most of any player in the match (4) as he frequently put his team on the front foot by beating opposition defenders and creating space in the Monaco half. He had an impressive habit of popping up in small spaces in midfield to receive the ball and link up with his teammates, allowing them to break through the opposition midfield lines. Although he should take care not to overplay in central areas, as he lost the ball on three separate occasions after being disposessed by an opponent.

Defensively, Angban attempted and completed two tackles in this match, but was otherwise fairly quiet when his team didn’t have possession. At 5’11 and with a slim build, he is not the most physical of players but was snappy and sharp in the challenge which allowed him to regain possession on a couple of occasions, whilst he showed his tenacity when dribbling ,with his eagerness to keep the ball for his team and battle hard in shoulder to shoulder duels.

On the whole, Angban put on an impressive display and was perhaps unfortunate to be withdrawn, with Metz lacking a bit of spark in their build up play for the final half an hour after his substitution. If I was to be hyper-critical, I would say that he needed to have more of an end product towards the final third and he lacked physciality in midfield, but it was a good performance from the midfielder.

Rating: A2

Fabien Centonze

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 16/01/1996
  • Current Club: Metz
  • Career: Evian, Clermont, Lens, Metz
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Right Midfield / Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Centonze displayed a good level of ability in possession from right back as well as an impressive aerial presence, but his questionable decisons in 1 v 1 situations when defending left some room for improvement. He could frequently be seen bombing forward from right back to assist in attacking moves and he successfully provided width for his team. He linked up smartly with his teammmates, whilst displaying a quick turn of pace and change in direction to evade challenges or get away from his man. The 24 year old was also able to relieve pressure on his team by finding accurate longer passes into his teammates in wide areas, and he displayed good levels of vision to find teammates in tight areas.

In the final third, he didn’t actually cross the ball too much, instead electing to try and link up on the edge of the area which, although it looked smooth, tended to not be very effective. Having said that, on one occasion he cut inside onto his weaker left foot and unleashed a thunderous strike from the best part of 30 yards that cannoned off the upright – this was about as close as Metz had come to finding the back of the net. His close control and turn of pace allowed him to wriggle free of defenders at times, but he did sometimes overplay and this lead to a loss in possession from running out of room.

At 6 foot and with an average build, Centonze is capable of competing in physical duels and displayed his aerial ability on several occasions in this match. He won 6 aerial duels, the most of any player, using his height and a good leap to win the ball, but his aggression and willingness to challenge for aerial balls were really the main reasons for his success. He kept his eye on the ball well and adjusted his positioning accordingly, before positively winning headers and putting his team back on the front foot. He may need to be a bit careful though, as sometimes when challenging for headers, he left space in behind him in wide areas.

This aggression translated over to his ground duels, where he successfully won two tackles, and made 4 interceptions to regain possession for his team. This tenacity in duels allowed him to use his body effectively to win back the ball and get in front of the opposition player. However, his body positioning and aggression in 1 v 1 duels sometimes left him exposed as he was either caught too square to his man or overcommitted in challenges, leaving space behind him. Though this only happened on a couple of occasions and as a result he looked fairly solid throughout.

Centonze was aggressive in the air and relatively solid in ground duels, whilst posing a threat going forward. In this match he did overcommit to duels, leaving space in behind, on occasion and he sometimes tried to be too delicate in the final third rather than putting the ball into a dangerous area, but overall it was a good game from full back who was unlucky not to score with his long range effort.

Rating: B1

Habib Maïga

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 01/01/1996
  • Current Club: Metz
  • Career: Saint-Etienne, Arsenal Tula (L), Metz (L), Metz
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Maïga grew into the game after a sluggish start. He battled well in central midfield, putting his body about and making use of his strong build in duels with opponents. He was aggressive and looked to get in the face of the opposition by hassling them and forcing them backwards or into making a mistake and this lead to him making 3 tackles in the match, however sometimes his aggression got the better of him when he committed a couple of late challenges to give away fouls. The 5’11 midfielder has a sturdy build and was also able to provide an aerial presence in midfield to win headers and keep the pressure on the opposition by not allowing them to break.

The 24 year old was not as inventive as Angban with his passing, but was still efficient and provided a platform for Metz to quickly switch the play from side to side. Furthermore, he used his strength well with the ball at his feet to retain possession and shake off defenders before driving forwards, though he didn’t do this enough in midfield areas, preferring to play simple passes. In the final third, Maïga lacked a degree of composure and quality, playing a couple of flat crosses that didn’t trouble the defence and mistiming a shot after he found himself in a dangerous position.

He covered a good amount of ground for his team and kept the ball moving in central areas, but really lacked end product or creativity in the final third. Maïga provided a physical and aerial presence in the centre of the park, but struggled to have a huge impact on this game, especially after Monaco were reduced to ten men and Metz began to see more of the ball.

Rating: B1

Matthieu Udol

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 20/03/1996
  • Current Club: Metz
  • Career: Metz, RFC Seraing (L)
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

The best way to illustrate the impact that Udol and Centonze had from full back for Metz, is that they both had the most touches on the pitch, as their team looked to utilise the width of the pitch whilst inviting the full backs to get forward. Udol is 5’10 and has a large frame that makes him a handful in physical battles, but as a result he also seemed to lack a yard or two of pace when running up and down the left flank. When in 1 v 1 situations with the winger running at him, Udol struggled to keep up with the oppositon forward and was forced to commit two cynical fouls whilst he was also beaten on a couple of occasions.

To make up for this, Udol did display a good reading of the game, and was able to make some vital clearances in the penalty area, whilst also cutting out opposition passes on 4 separate occasions (the joint most in his team), he was also able to cover for teammates due to his positoning and made 4 tackles. His defensive reading of the game and positioning helped him as he otherwise seemed to struggle with 1 v1 defendinbg against the pace and skill of Gelson Martins.

Going forward, Udol was able to use his strength to his advantage to drive past opposition players, but his inconsistent ball control let him down at times. The left back sometimes demonstrated good skill to bring the ball under his spell and take it on the turn, but he also let several loose touches get away from him that resulted in losses of possession for his team. Similarly, his passing and final ball also lacked consistency, as on occasion he was able to link up effectively with his teammates in wide areas and deliver some dangerous crosses or passes, that lead to him making 2 key passes. However, he only finished the game with a 73% pass completion rate, and wasted some good opportunities to find dangerous areas by overhitting his crosses or hesitating.

The 24 year old struggled at times when on the back foot defensively, but he was able to read the game well and make some important interventions to prevent the opposition. When attacking, he seemed dangerous and displayed a willingness to get forward, but lacked consistency and quality in the opposition half.

Rating: B2

Ibrahima Niane

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Senegalese
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 11/03/1999
  • Current Club: Metz
  • Career: Metz
  • Position: Striker
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing / Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Niane started as Metz’s main striker, and although he looked sharp when he got the ball, for long periods of this game he was starved of possession and failed to have a meaningful impact. The Senegalese forward only touched the ball 25 times before being withdrawn with 20 minutes left to play. He showed good levels of close control when under pressure from defenders and used quick feet in tight areas to get away from opposition players and find a pass to a teammate. He was capable of dropping deeper to link up in midfield, but failed to provide much of a focal point for the attack.

The 6’2 striker has a slim build but a good turn of pace which allows him to make runs in behind, the latter was difficult to make use of in this match, especially after Monaco were reduced to ten men and began to sit deeper. He found himself in one or two good positions, and after making a good run and having a decent touch, he skewed his effort wide with one of his best opportunities. Otherwise, he posed a decent threat from set-pieces, seeing one header saved and another going wide following corners.

Prior to being substituted, he was moved to a wider role, where he demonstrated his ability to drive with the ball and take on defenders, and he put in a decent delivery that, unfortunately for his team, came to nothing. Niane’s work rate was decent but not particularly noteworthy, and although he showed glimpses of his ability, he struggled to have an impact on proceedings.

Rating: B2

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