Stats 13 February 2024, 17:36

Why AS Monaco is the best team in the air in Ligue 1

Why AS Monaco is the best team in the air in Ligue 1
During the Derby won against Nice (2-3), Denis Zakaria scored the eighth goal for the Rouge et Blanc this season in the air. Here's a focus on some stats in one of the areas in which the Club excels, with our partner Opta.

Denis “Air” Zakaria strikes again! This Sunday, the stakes were high in the Côte d’Azur Derby between AS Monaco and OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera. And thanks in particular to a masterclass from the Monegasque number 6, scorer of a double and logically named MVP of the, the men of Adi Hütter picked up an important victory (2-3).

Two strikes for the price of one 💎

But this win, which also allowed the Principality club to return to the podium at the same time, could never have seen the light of day without Denis Zakaria. First the scorer of a powerful strike into Marcin Bulka’s top corner to open the scoring (16′), the Swiss international would then be precise in the air. At the end of a play  that he started himself, Zak’ would place an unstoppable header into the opposite corner, thanks to a fine pass from Takumi Minamino (50′).

Zakaria, Mister 66% 🪖

It was his third goal with La Diagonale on his shoulders, and already the second with a header against Brest! However, the coach gently criticized him at the time in a press conference, arguing that it was not his strong point. Denis therefore twisted the truth of this legend, and confirmed that this is an area in which AS Monaco perform well. And for good reason, in an article published on the Ligue 1 website, Opta offered up the data to prove it.

The coach gave me a hard time at the start of the season, but I hope that will no longer be the case (smiles). I've already scored two headed goals this season, and I hope it won't be the last (smiles). I will work to score some more and I am happy to have been able to help the team today. It’s great to score a double, especially in a Derby, it’s magnificent!
Denis ZakariaOn his aerial ability

Best in Ligue 1 in this area 🥇

Against Les Aiglons, the Monegasque midfielder scored the eighth headed goal by the Rouge et Blanc this season in the league, the best current total ahead of Lille and Toulouse (7). Last season, the Principality club occupied second place in this ranking with 12 goals in the air (behind Brest, 14). So it’s nothing new, and it’s even a little bit of a tradition.

High quality in the air 🎯

Indeed, the statistics specialist reveals to us that over the last ten years (since 2014), no Ligue 1 team has had more goals scored in the area (109). This can be explained in particular by the quality of Monegasque set pieces. This was the case on goals scored by Wilfried Singo and Guillermo Maripán in the beginning of the season against Lens on fine passes from Caio Henrique in a 3-0 win.

And precise crosses! 📏

Or on Denis Zakaria’s first goal in Rouge et Blanc against Brest. But this skill in the air also finds its essence in the precision of the crosses being delivered, as five have come in this way (Minamino against Strasbourg and Nantes; Ben Yedder against Reims twice; Zakaria against Nice). As a result, three members of the squad already have two headed goals: Ben Yedder, Minamino and Zakaria.

We train a lot to improve defensively in these phases of play. The goal against Le Havre was an individual error, and in Rouen it was the last chance before half-time. We lacked communication on this play, because two players were unmarked in the area.
Adi HütterOn set pieces

This specialty  has become a strength, further justifying the team’s having the league’s second-best attack behind that of Paris Saint-Germain, with already 40 goals from 21 round. There remains progress be made in this area, but in the defensive phase this time, as Adi Hütter said recently to the press. Next step! 🪖

Rise. Risk. Repeat.