PLAYER RATINGS | Monaco 3-0 Lens: Les Monégasques retake top spot in Ligue 1

Ligue 1, Round 4, 02/09/23

RC Lens beat AS Monaco by a three-goal margin in both fixtures last season, but Adi Hütter’s side returned the favour on Saturday night (3-0), sweeping aside Les Sang et Or in a one-way encounter at the Stade Louis II. 

Lens are a shadow of last season’s side, the departures have certainly hurt them but there is an intensity to their game that is currently sorely lacking. Les Sang et Or’s role was passive, they were too happy to cede possession to their opponent, and whilst it took time for that domination to manifest itself in the scoreline, Monaco did get their noses in front. 

A strong shot from Takumi Minamino was palmed over by Brice Samba, but from the resulting corner, Wilfried Singo rose highest to give Les Monégasques a deserved lead. Whilst Lens continued to lack cutting-edge in possession, Monaco continued to bypass Lens’ midfield and create dangerous situations. 

Minamino was left completely unmarked on one such instance, and he had all the time in the world to pick out Aleksandr Golovin, who finished first time past Samba. The half-time break did little to stem Monaco’s momentum, nor the goals. It was Henrique once again with the cross, but this time it was the returning Guillermo Maripán who rose highest to head it home. 

Monaco could have had more. Folarin Balogun, on for his debut for the Principality club, rounded Samba, but in an attempt to win a penalty, took a tumble. The referee didn’t point to the spot but did brandish a yellow card for the former Monaco man for simulation. However, it was of little consequence, Monaco saw out the victory and retook their position at the top of Ligue 1. 

Monaco player ratings

Philipp Köhn – 6

Soungoutou Magassa – 5

Guillermo Maripán – 6

Wilfried Singo – 7

Caio Henrique – 7 – Two assists for the Brazilian, whose attacking capabilities were once again highlighted here. Henrique is yet to be properly tested defensively, but his upside is his final ball delivery, and he was on top form here, delivering two tantalising crosses that were well met by Singo and Maripán.

Mohamed Camara – 6

Youssouf Fofana – 6

Vanderson – 6

Aleksandr Golovin – 7 – The Russian playmaker has been outshone by Minamino in these opening games, however, he took the limelight here. His delicate touches to break the lines are as attractive as they are effective, and they helped Monaco break through what was an admittedly porous Lens midfield.

Wissam Ben Yedder – 4

Takumi MInamino – 7 – The Japanese international continues his fine run of form by adding to his offensive statistics. Minamino assisted Golovin’s goal and could have had a goal himself had Samba not tipped his shot just over the crossbar. 

Lens player ratings

Brice Samba – 4

Kevin Danso – 4

Facundo Medina – 4

Jonathan Gradit – 4

Stijn Spierings – 3

Adrien Thomasson – 5

Salis Abdul Samed – 3 – Completely bypassed in midfield. Monaco had a lot of joy creating in the middle of the park, where their energy went unmatched throughout. 

Massadio Haïdara – 5

Elye Wahi – 4

Angelo Fulgini – 5

Florian Sotoca – 4

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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