It is often said that defenders are the first part of an attack. And in this case, it’s not just a saying, it’s a reality. In fact, two of AS Monaco’s center backs, Benoît Badiashile and Axel Disasi, are among the best center backs in Europe’s Top 5 leagues in terms of advancing play. According to figures compiled by two accounts specializing in the study of data, StatsBomb and Fbref, the two Monegasques are at the top of the pile in two very specific statistics.
Centre-backs, ball progression, etc etc pic.twitter.com/OWTipdbtxT
— Francesco (@ItalianHawker) November 9, 2021
Best forward passer in Europe
The Academy-trained French U-21 international (10 caps) is indeed the player across the five big leagues who averages the most forward passes per game. With just over six per match, he is ahead of players such as Eric Garcia (FC Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villareal), Lucas Hernández (Bayern Munich) and Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City). Called up again by Sylvain Ripoll this November for the team’s two qualifying matches for Euro 2023, he was even the best Monegasque recently against Eindhoven at the Stade Louis-II, winning all of his duels.
Axel Disasi, Mr. Attack
He has also just marked 100 professional matches with AS Monaco, despite being only 20 years old. It’s a promising start for a player who was on the long list for the 2021 Golden Boy award. His partner in central defence, Axel Disasi is no slouch either. The Rouge et Blanc‘s vice-captain since last season, the former Reims man ranks sixth among Top 5 center backs in terms of forward runs. With seven on average per match, the Monegasque number 6 has similar levels to players like Rúben Dias (Manchester City) and Joël Matip (Liverpool). Not bad.
These are all encouraging figures, which prove that Monegasque defenders are capable of bringing significant added value to the collective in terms of getting forward. This is good, as it is precisely one of the points which Niko Kovac had recently emphasized in a press conference: “If you get forward more, it’s easier to defend and create chances on the counter.” From words to deeds.