Thierry Henry sacked, Leonardo Jardim returns and yet Monaco could still be relegated from Ligue 1

jar(1)

If anything at least it hasn’t been a quiet forgettable season for Monaco. The 2017 champions and the only team to stop PSG winning the league since 2012 are in 17th place and have a realistic chance of being relegated.

Thierry Henry infamously replaced Leonardo Jardim who had guided the club to their Ligue 1 win and had done pretty much nothing wrong to be sacked in the first place. This was proven just 4 months later when Henry couldn’t even buy a win and was sacked as Monaco lay in the bottom three. He was inevitably replaced by Jardim and Monaco’s fortune swiftly turned around, well at least, for a few weeks.

It seems though that Jardim and possibly even Henry were not the root of the problem and the real problem for the club is that for many seasons they have constantly sold their best players. Run as a business Monaco have been terrific one of the best clubs in Europe, buy cheap and sell large. Clubs such as Manchester City and PSG have spent hundreds of millions acquiring the talent pool from Monaco. That is all very well and good but was it worth it to be playing in Ligue 2?

Jardim has simply not been able to turn things around enough for a club who have slumped in the past month. Their latest defeat was against newly promoted Nimes losing 1-0 and Monaco are 17th. The problem for the club is that they are only in this position on goal difference. Caen have found excellent form and have the same number of points on them on 33. And that is not all, Dijon’s victory over Strasbourg at the weekend means that they have 31 and remain a threat and there is still 2 games to play in the league.

Monaco have lost 3 of their last four games and from their last 10 games they have won just once. Their last victory came 2 months ago when they beat Lille. Indeed that has been a sticking point with the club. Their last two wins came against Lille who are 2nd and Lyon who are 3rd, but they have had a hard time beating teams just above them and around them which could ultimately be their downfall.

Will Monaco survive? Well if they finish 18th that is no longer automatic relegation in France and instead they would partake in a play off against the 3rd place Ligue 2 side to see who would be promoted and relegated. Monaco’s last two games are at home to Amiens and then away in the derby against Nice. How ironic that it is Nice who could end up sending them down?

The Amiens game then is massive and win that and that should be enough to fend off the challenge from Dijon. Plus Dijon have to play PSG away from home next, and yes whilst PSG have been in poor form, no one is expecting them to lose that match. So Dijon do look down. As for Caen that is the real worry for Monaco, since Caen would be 6th in the league on form.

Caen have to play Lyon away which is going to be incredibly tough and then finish the season with a home game against Bordeaux. It’s going to be close and both Caen and Monaco could finish on 36 points.

While the excitement of who would win Ligue 1 felt done and dusted by Christmas the relegation battle is only just heating up with 2 games to go.

Circus at Monaco continues as Jardim is back after Henry sacking

JAR(1)

105 days after being sacked from Monaco, Leonardo Jardim is back as coach after Thierry Henry was suspended and then sacked as head coach after a dismal three months in charge.

Nobody expected that Monaco would go back to Jardim though, and perhaps nobody believed that Jardim would be willing to go back after being unjustly sacked the first time but that is what has happened.

It has been a circus season for Monaco, the 2017 champions who are 19th in the league table, the result not down to coaches but down to constantly selling their best players, and that is why it is a surprise that Jardim is back. Let’s remember whilst Jardim is ten times the coach of Henry he was still struggling with the club this season.

Perhaps Jardim has been promised that his best players will stay and that the tactic of selling half the team come each summer will stop. Evidently it hasn’t got the club anywhere and they may well still end up in Ligue 2. Perhaps the players were informed too and they voted to have Jardim back, if this is the case then we should expect to see an upturn in the clubs fortunes. One wonders what new signing and established international Cesc Fabregas thinks of it all- has he jumped ship from the Premier League too soon?

And what of Henry? Where does he go from here? One remembers Gary Neville’s poor stint at Valencia which seemingly finished him as a coach and it could be that Henry returns to punditry. Having said that he seems like a determined person and the Monaco job could have been a case of taking such a project too soon in his career. Henry won just 4 games from the 20 he was in charge of.

For Jardim the work must start immediately. His side lost at the weekend to Dijon 2-0 however he wasn’t in the dug out and his first game back will be the home match against Toulouse next Saturday.

The month of February looks like a tough one for Monaco with tricky fixtures against the likes of Montpellier and Lyon, so this will be no easy ride for Jardim. However despite how poor the club have been this season they are still only 3 points from safety and if the club were to get a winning run together they could still finish in midtable.

Jardim’s job is simple and that is to keep the club up, one senses, he will do just that.

Is Leonardo Jardim’s job at Monaco the most frustrating in Europe?

zzzzzz (2)

By all accounts Monaco should be a fierce rival of PSG going neck and neck in the league and be amongst the favourites to win the Champions League. But sadly miss management over the past three years has meant that the club are now seemingly on the wane. And for manager Leonardo Jardim this must be one of the most frustrating jobs he has ever been in and he looks powerless to do it anything about it.

Jardim was recruited by Monaco in 2014 and is starting his fifth season with the club. At first the temptation to take over a side who 10 years previously had reached the Champions League final must have been mouth watering, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Monaco were now owned and had been since 2011 by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev who promised to bring a new resurgence to the team.

What has happened since then has been a policy to buy low and sell high- and Monaco will always sell their most gifted players. The problem with this is that the club will never reach another level and certainly will not be returning to a Champions League final anytime soon. Under Rybolovlev the team have won just 2 trophies, the Ligue 2 title and more importantly the Ligue 1 title in 2017 which means that Monaco became the only team to stop PSG’s league title run since 2012.

And yet Jardim has had to witness 4 cup trophies runners up that all went to the same team, PSG, and all ended in heavy defeats. The truth is Monaco have produced some of the very best quality in European football over the past few years and Jardim has had to wave goodbye to them on a regular occurrence. Nobody good stays at the club for long.

And the roll of honour of players that have been sold under Jardim is stunning. Yannick Carrasco, Anthony Martial, Aymen Abdennour, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Valerie Germain, Lucas Ocampos, Jeremy Toulalan, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy, Allan Saint-Maximin, Guido Carrillo, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Kylian Mbappe. That is a huge list of players that win you trophies.

It is true of course that Monaco have received in excess of £400m for the above stars but then with an owner that is worth over £7 billion doesn’t it beg the question as to why Monaco would want to part with such quality? Of course Ligue 1 is not the strongest league in Europe and at one time these players would be looking for pastures new but none of them even get the chance to stay a few seasons if there is a price tag to be found. Plus a bulk of them have remained playing in Ligue 1 for other sides.

The project that Rybolovlev has at Monaco is puzzling then, but only success wise. If one was to look at the business side then Monaco are the most astute in Europe and have made huge profits doing so. What this means for the long suffering Jardim is anyone’s guess. He is obviously very good friends with the Monaco president and is on course to break the managerial record for longevity currently held by none other than Arsene Wenger at 7 years.

But Monaco’s transfer actions are taking the job out of Jardim’s hands and they are already 10 points behind PSG in the league after one month and opened up their Champions League account with a 2-1 loss at home to Atletico Madrid. Memories of Champions League finals and Ligue 1 titles are becoming more distant by the day.

 

Ligue 1 stars Mbappe, Neymar, Fekir, Depay, Thauvin & Cavani back in Action!

Ligue 1 kicks-off on Friday, August 10th with Marseille hosting Toulouse! The French fans have celebrated a glorious summer with the likes of Kylian Mbappe helping Les Bleus lift the World Cup! However, this Friday, Fantasy Football Managers will be looking to the likes of Florian Thauvin to earn precious fantasy points in the long and exciting quest to be crowned best Ligue 1 Fantasy Manager!

While PSG may be clear favorites to repeat as champions, in particular with Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar all on the club’s payroll, Lyon- as long as they keep Nabil Fekir, have an exciting and fun core in Fekir, Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traore and striker Mariano. Marseille have some good players, and not just Thauvin, but it will be hard for them to compete with PSG in a long season due to the low budget limiting the club’s ability to lure quality signings.

Finally, Monaco have sold players again this summer but they have made a habit of rebounding and performing well with the help of clever signings and quality work by coach Leonardo Jardim.

So who will be on your Ligue 1 Fantasy Team? How about Cavani who is PSG’s all-time leading scorer (he surpassed Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record last season), or perhaps iconic Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon?

Remember to play now and invite your friends to join your Mini-League! It is Free to join, so what are you waiting for? If you believe you have what it takes to challenge other Ligue 1 Fantasy managers then click the following link now: https://ligue1fantasy.com/users/register and prove your knowledge of French football!