Monaco: Defying Critics and Conquering a Nation

Just when it looked like Paris Saint-Germain were about to establish a period of dominance in Ligue 1, AS Monaco went and won the league for the first time since 2000. PSG’s run of four titles in a row was officially put to an end after Monaco’s 2-0 win over Saint-Étienne on Wednesday.

The club has had an incredible season, scoring a whopping 104 goals with one game to go. This is the second most goals scored by one team in the French top-flight and it places Monaco among Europe’s highest-scoring teams for the season.

Their dominant league performances are made even more impressive considering Monaco were playing in Ligue 2 in the 2012-2013 season. After winning that season, they flourished in the first division, never finishing below third place.

The Perfect Blend of Youth and Experience

Radamel Falcao, upon his loan return from Chelsea, became Monaco’s captain and top scorer. The Colombian’s 21 goals led Monaco to their latest trophy, but his teammates also shined at various points in the season.

Academy products Valère Germain and Kylian Mbappé supported the team with goals, while the likes of Bakayoko and Fabinho impressed in midfield. Full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Dijbril Sidibe also contributed heavily along the backline.

Monaco’s young talents will certainly draw attention from big-spending clubs in the summer. Keeping the core of the team together may be a challenge for the club next season.

Competing On All Fronts

Not only have Monaco done extremely well in the league, but they have also had an exhilarating Champions League run. That saw them eliminate Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, before falling to Juventus in the semi-finals. Not bad for a team that entered the group stage as a fourth seed team.

The one blemish on Monaco’s season was their results in the domestic cups. Although they remained unbeaten against PSG in the league, their defeats in the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue both came at the hands of the Parisians.

The Keys to Success

With a promising academy and a policy of promoting youth, Monaco’s hard work has finally paid off with the team they have assembled. Their young players are the envy of clubs across Europe and their success shows what PSG have been aiming for with their big spending, especially in European competition.

Leonardo Jardim has done quite a lot with this formidable team of champions. Over the course of the season, Monaco have become known for scoring goals with an electrifying attack and having the consistency to only suffer three losses in the league and drop points only twice at home.

The nature of Monaco’s title push was that of strong, attacking performances with many chances created consistently throughout the season. This approach saw them win dominantly and score countless goals against bottom-half teams.

To cement their deserved place at the top of the table, Monaco remained difficult to beat against top teams. Their style of play included a solid defence and blistering counter attacks. As a result, Monaco were still able to create chances via the wings, utilizing through balls and low crosses to beat even the most skilled defenders.

An Uncertain Future

After ending their season on a high, Monaco will look to maintain the momentum next season. It is absolutely imperative that they keep the core of their team together while continuing to develop talent. PSG will come back even stronger next season, so Monaco will need to remain at the top of their game to compete on all fronts.

It also remains to be seen whether this team can replicate European success multiple years in a row. Making the semi-finals of the Champions League is a wonderful achievement, but the true mark of a great club is being able to consistently perform on the biggest stage.

Until then, Monaco can reflect on their season and be satisfied with another Ligue 1 title under their belt.

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