Fofana-Tchouaméni, eyes closed / Mondial 2022 / Gr. D / France / SOFOOT.com

In January 2020, AS Monaco determined to rebuild itself round a double pivot embodied by two bets: Aurélien Tchouaméni and Youssouf Fofana. Greater than two years later, the primary sue for Actual Madrid and the second continues to be a vital lung for ASM, however the two males are particularly anticipated to start out the World Cup within the coronary heart of the Blues neighborhood on Monday. A glance again on the making of a pair that might shortly develop into precious once more.

First there was a scattered puzzle and scattered figures: 21 league video games performed for under eight small successes, 36 targets scored and as many conceded, making AS Monaco put on the cap of 18e Ligue 1 protection, greater than 70 gamers below contract and virtually all recreation patterns examined. Then there have been the complications of discovering how and above all with whom to reach securing an more and more porous line of defense? On January 29, 2020, the ASM, thirteenth within the championship and recovered by Roberto Moreno after Christmas, goes badly and within the excessive princely spheres, the time is as a lot for a rescue of the furnishings of the present season as for an efficient projection on the longer term. The target is obvious: not screw up and discover two younger gamers able to forming a brand new double pivot constant within the method of the Fabinho-Bakayoko duo of 2017, i.e. a tasty mixture of influence on restoration and selection on the ball on the foot . “The success of Lille and their extraordinarily stable double pivot was additionally a supply of inspirationdeciphered the previous head of AS Monaco’s recreation evaluation, Adrien Tarascon, now stationed at LOSC, within the pages of the ebook win a soccer recreation?. On this Monaco, we wanted a double pivot able to bringing a big quantity of recoveries whereas having complementary qualities and straightforward to develop in using the ball. » The elected ? Aurélien Tchouaméni, 20, and Youssouf Fofana, 21: two bolts who fell the identical night on the Rock firstly of 2020, one landed from Bordeaux and the opposite from Strasbourg, and who, rather less than three years extra later, might debut collectively in the midst of the favourite motion film setting of males in cleats: a World Cup match. There are extra failed jumps.

“We managed to construct an alchemy”

Nonetheless, the duo’s first dive in Monaco was not so clean, as a result of if Fofana had the chance to attain factors earlier than the championship was interrupted by the pandemic, Tchouaméni needed to be affected person and eat crumbs ( 65 minutes) till the arrival of Niko Kovač through the summer season of 2020. The rod of Rouen nonetheless smiled, Thursday, on the point out of those moments of discovery: “We signed the identical day, me at 10 p.m., him possibly at 10:30 p.m. We’re from the identical technology, now we have the identical pursuits, we lived on the lodge collectively, so we acquired nearer in a short time. And behind, we discovered to play collectively, to know the actions of 1 and the opposite, we managed to create connections, to construct an alchemy on the bottom that we might see in Ligue 1 . » The connection was gradual, however in a short time conclusive when, within the wake of a slap acquired in Lyon, Kovač determined to make the 2 French lungs the reactor of his tilting system from a 4-4-2 within the defensive section to a 3-4-2-1 within the offensive section. With this new go well with, AS Monaco ended the 2020-2021 season on the Ligue 1 podium with Aurélien Tchouaméni confirming his repute as a stalker (second largest tackler within the 5 main European championships behind Laurent Abergel and forward of Benjamin André , second in tried tackles within the final opposing thirds) coupled with that of a grasp at breaking opposing blocks with the go and a cushty Youssouf Fofana to slide his nostril between the strains a notch increased.

Present assistant to Luka Elsner in Le Havre, Serge Costa, who has supported a superb variety of Blues in parallel along with his teaching profession, specifically Matteo Guendouzi, Benjamin Pavard and Jules Koundé, as participant growth coach – both a advisor exterior the membership contacted for “to assist the participant fill in his gaps, to make him stronger, quicker, extra worthwhile, extra environment friendly, extra pragmatic, extra clever” – hasn’t forgotten something about his collaboration with the previous Monegasque doublet. Of Fofana, he says: “I met Youssouf in the summertime of 2017, when he arrived in Strasbourg. On the time, I used to be assistant to the CFA2 coach and director of the coaching middle, François Keller. He’s a boy who, when he was youthful, left Clairefontaine with out signing for knowledgeable membership and at all times had a deep want to succeed. His progress was a little bit extra irregular, he needed to digest the levels of his success, however we each labored on the place and when to interrupt the opposing strains and on the hanging approach. His purpose scored with Strasbourg in opposition to Lille within the Coupe de la Ligue, that is precisely what we had been engaged on: searching for the rebound shot, on the entrance to the realm moderately than within the space, shortening the run… We additionally studied the projections of a Pogba or the way in which of urgent of an Idrissa Gueye, for instance. »

The case of Tchouaméni is totally different. “Fully, evencontinues Costa. Aurélien was launched to me by his agent Jonathan Kébé. He had already made me work with Jules Koundé. Aurélien has at all times been very clear in his intentions. Like everybody else, he got here to see me to have extra effectivity in his place, extra regularity in all phases of the sport, to harm much more within the last opposing third. We by no means had any limits. We labored on the creation, the development, the end. We notably targeted on his heading recreation through the summer season of 2020. As he’s obsessive about the small print that may make him higher, he wished to enhance his consistency and we put an enormous deal with the timing of his aerial recreation and it paid off. He scored a number of targets like that. » Together with one, final March, with the Blues, in opposition to Ivory Coast (2-1).

The pc and the truffle tree

Interviewed on the finish of 2020, Niko Kovač didn’t hesitate to throw reward at two guys “highly effective, technically superb and who defend very effectively. They do not shut their eyes if you present them issues. In the event that they keep sane of their heads, they’ll have a terrific profession. » Within the recreation of variations, Serge Costa, who for a time was capable of push his work with Tchouaméni very far because of the assist of Adrien Tarascon, rushes: “Aurélien is the regulator of the duo, the one who will arrange every thing for you. He’s sturdy in verticality, sturdy in transition and has distinctive passing intelligence. Youssouf, he’s extra into percussion, he’s an agitator. He is a participant who could make an enormous mess of your opponent’s blocks. These are two profiles that go collectively completely and which might even marry that of Matteo Guendouzi. We will think about an Aurélien in 6, Matteo between the 2, Youssouf a notch increased, and it might be constant within the animation. » What we do know, for the second, is that after their glorious 2020-2021 season, the ram Youssouf Fofana, usually magnified by his affiliation with the pc Aurélien Tchouaméni, at this time at Actual Madrid, have confirmed . They even discovered themselves collectively from the beginning with the Blues, in opposition to Austria (2-0), in September, throughout an evening when Fofana, who additionally is aware of how one can chew and whose stats – two targets and 9 assists in 115 video games with ASM – don’t say every thing about his potential to mix in a single contact or to compensate for the actions of the attackers, lived his first.


Positioned alongside Tchouaméni in a 3-4-1-2, we noticed him very snug with out the ball to compensate for Griezmann’s actions, like right here …


… earlier than turning into a canopy participant, virtually a decisive passer for a Tchouaméni who left to mission himself.


We might additionally see him clever within the sharing of zones with Kylian Mbappé …


… earlier than being hit behind the opponent’s strain line.


This may even be the case on the sequence bringing the 2-0.

Questioned in September, Tchouaméni had displayed his pleasure at having enjoyable once more with Fofana. If they’re aligned once more in opposition to Australia, the 2 buddies shall be aligned this time in one other animation: a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 Russia 2018 model the place the third midfielder ought to usually be Adrien Rabiot. The understanding is that within the absence of the Kanté-Pogba duo, their presence in the identical place on the identical time permits Didier Deschamps to avoid wasting time and to have an already dependable pair. Will or not it’s on a World Cup? Continuation of the puzzle to observe.

By Maxime Brigand, in Doha

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