AS Monaco visited Bordeaux in their opening Ligue 1 fixture in their return to the top flight of French soccer. The game was full of action with the visitors deservedly winning 2-0 thanks to late goals by Emmanuel Riviere and Radamel Falcao.
Monaco has a mixture of young and veteran talent that allowed them to mix different energy levels, with each and every player on the field completing their jobs to near perfection. They kept the clean sheet by not allowing their opponents to create too many chances in the final third, and their defense was solid for the most part.
Ricardo Carvalho (center-back) and Eric Abidal (left-back) are both well above 30 years of age, but their energy, intelligence and ability were all still very much on display. Their leadership in their own third and ability to direct their younger teammates throughout the match is helping this team tremendously. They need to continue doing this so the team can improve even more in the near future.
Falcao played very well, but he constantly dropped back into the midfield to help out his central teammates by pressuring the opponents to make mistakes so that he could start the counter. He is very good not just at scoring, but at passing the ball on the ground or through the air as well.
Younger guys such as James Rodriguez and Lucas Ocampos played an important role in the midfield as they know how to keep possession of the ball, make runs and pass the ball all at times when needed. Their youthful approach as well as hunger to make names for themselves really kept the team playing at a high tempo throughout the match. This will also be needed throughout the year.
Monaco won this game deservedly and look like a team that could potentially dominate most of the teams in this league. The only teams that can truly give them a lot of trouble are Lyon, PSG and Marseille. This weekend, they will host Montpellier, who managed a 1-1 home draw against reigning champions PSG.
If Monaco can win this one, they will perhaps commence on a journey all the way to the league title.