This matchup at the home of FC Lorient featured two teams fighting for European qualification spots in the Ligue 1 table. Lorient were looking for a statement win against Monaco after a dip in form sent them out of the top 5 heading into the World Cup break. Lorient are having an impressive season on the backs of strong performances from young stars Dango Ouattara, Terem Moffi, and Enzo Le Fee. In this match Lorient sat very deep, denying service to central areas. Their shape from restarts and in possession resembled a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-2-4 when midfielder Enzo Le Fee was positioned closely to the striker Moffi. Lorient did not press high and they were keen to force Monaco to attack down their right, avoiding left back Caio Henrique and creative left midfielder Aleksandr Golovin. Lorient kept their front 3 very high in possession and did not seem too concerned with keeping the ball at any point in the 2-2 draw.
- 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, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Burkinabe
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 11/02/2002
- Current club: FC Lorient
- Career: Majestic FC, FC Lorient
- Position: Winger
- Preferred foot: Either
Ouattara was relatively quiet on the day, but for a two minute period where he equalized with a bullet header off of a corner and then promptly dispossessed Caio Henrique to set up Terem Moffi for Lorient’s second goal. Ouattara played as a right winger for almost all of his 84 minutes, except for a five minute period between the 68th and 73rd minute where he swapped with left winger Yoann Cathline while losing 1-0. I believe this move was made to get Cathline involved in the game more, as neither winger had many opportunities all game. Dango Ouattara is highly proficient with both feet, so he can be effective from either wing.
Because of the instructions for the front line to push into the opponent’s half and create a big gap between forwards and holding midfielders, Ouattara did not have many chances to orchestrate a flowing attack. Dango was frequently playing first time passes to his center midfielders upon checking backward to receive a pass down the line from his right back Gedeon Kalulu. Ouattara finished the game with 11/22 passing attempts completed. He was most dangerous when running from the right side at a diagonal approach angle and daring the defender to stab in. Defenders were wary of attempting to win the ball off of Ouattara because of his deceptive hips and quick identification of targets in the box and he won multiple corners because of this apprehension. In these situations, though, it would be helpful for him to have an overlapping player to afford him more options to choose from.
Ouattara uses defenders’ momentum against them to win 1v1s toward the endline and to create dribbling lanes in counterattacking situations. Ouattara used a subtle body feint to create the space he needed to dribble forward and eventually played a through pass to Terem Moffi for a goal. Ouattara has impressive balance and is a natural dribbler. He also demonstrated very clever body positioning and anticipation to win fouls.
Physically, Ouattara is very promising. He would not be out of his depth in the Premier League for a young winger. He is expected to win headers from long balls and restarts in this Lorient system, despite being 178 cm. Against Monaco, most aerial duels went the way of the visitors. Nevertheless, Ouattara found space in the box from a corner to score the equalizer.
Rating – A1
Dango Ouattara is among the best players on his team. He is dangerous with either foot and from both wings. He created good space to dribble into on the counter and he identified passing options quickly. His IQ should improve as he moves up in competition and learns from top coaches, but it is very good for a 20 year old. His current club system encourages him to take many attacking risks, but I would be curious to see what he can do in a team that looks to create chances in more patient build up and utilizes overlaps more frequently. Dango has interest from multiple mid and lower table Premier League teams and I think that is a good move for him. I would love to see him at Crystal Palace.
- Nationality: French
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 22/07/2002
- Current club: FC Lorient
- Career: US Torcy, EA Guingamp, FC Lorient
- Position: Winger
- Preferred foot: Right
Yoann Cathline is a confident young player, running at defenders and frequently losing the ball against Monaco. Lorient was set up in a system that seemingly encouraged its young wingers to be daring and take risks, not encumbered by the prospect of losing possession. The wingers along with attacking midfielder/second striker Enzo Le Fee held all of the responsibility to advance the ball. I give Cathline some slack for the amount of times he lost the ball in this game because he was often having to face multiple defenders in these attempts due to the lack of support in possession. Because of the massive gap between defender and forward lines, asking an outside back to cover that much ground would surely lead to tired legs.
Cathline was lively in the first half of the match, but he was not involved at all in the second half. If not for his dedicated defending, many managers would have taken Cathline off around the 65th minute due to his lack of attacking influence, but it is nice to see that Lorient’s manager Regis Le Bris has faith in the young winger. Yoann was briefly moved to the right side to provide a new setting for the right-footed player. After the 73rd minute, Cathline was back to the left again and he did not touch the ball more than five times the rest of the match. In his forays forward, he favored his right foot, but did deliver a couple of crosses using his weaker left foot. The crosses were usually looping and hopeful with his left, but Cathline was willing to drive toward the endline to cross it rather than pass backward if he couldn’t find anything on his right.
From the beginning of the match, it was evident that Lorient were intent on denying service from the flanks to zone 14. When Lorient got set into rest defense, Cathline was level with the holding midfielders, tasked with limiting the space available to combine on his side. Cathline’s biggest achievement of the day was ensuring that little to no significant chances were created from Monaco’s right side. He did well to keep right back Vanderson and dangerous right winger Krepin Diatta in check, which is likely the reason why he played the full 90 minutes. The 20 year old winger did his job defensively against a talented Monaco team, which gives me optimism about his playing time going forward. Catherine showed good body language and commitment to defending, which are great signs for a talented young player.
Rating – B2
Cathline is equally explosive, but a less polished prospect than Dango Ouattara. Cathline projects well physically, but as a winger, I am not sure he has the technical ability to move up a level. At least for now, he should look to keep his place in the team while developing his passing weight and decision making. Cathline is someone who can be a solid Ligue 1 defensive winger for years to come, but his current ability in possession limits the teams he can fit tactically. Yoann is a player to monitor going forward and I would not be surprised to see him change positions to outside back.
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 25/05/1999
- Current club: FC Lorient
- Career: FK Kauno Zalgiris, FK Riteriai, KV Kortrijk, FC Lorient
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Left
Terem Moffi is a physically imposing striker who can be aerially proficient in any league in the world. In the build up for Lorient, Moffi would hustle to get level with the Monaco back line and await a long ball or a rare string of quick passing. Moffi was never in space, always marked tightly and needing to jostle for position. In this match, most of his responsibility was to win headers and bring long hopeful passes down out of the air. Moffi showed good ball control in some of his attempts to bring the ball under control, but I believe his hold up play will have been better in other matches. He needed to be ready to get in behind against the run of play and he had one or two opportunities to do so, ultimately getting his shots saved by a well-positioned Alexander Nubel.
In defense, Moffi was not effective. He retreated to be a part of the low block and did a sufficient enough job at being tight to a white shirt, but Moffi was easily dribbled past multiple times by center back Axel Disasi (who I thought was impressive with the ball at his feet). The poor defensive work rate and lack of ability to thwart oncoming dribblers gave me some concern in this game, especially in the second half. It should be noted that some of Moffi’s casual defensive work rate was him following instructions to let only Enzo Le Fee press ball-carrying Monaco defenders everywhere but the defensive third.
Rating – A2
Moffi is a competitor for Ligue 1’s golden boot this season and he did not provide much evidence as to why in this match. Given the lack of chances created in this match and the amount of goals Moffi scored this season, I must assume that today was an aberration. I am sure he is a more committed defender on another day and he certainly looked like he has scored a load of goals from getting behind center backs. Maybe it would be best to watch him again to see if Lorient sets up this way every game or if it was just to keep Monaco at bay. Moffi has interest from Premier league clubs, signaling that despite his relatively quiet day which included a well taken goal, Terem Moffi is certainly a name that will be highlighted by opposing defenders going forward.