Mbappe shines brightest with pressure on Monaco to win in Ligue 1

Monday March 6th, 2017

The pressure was on Monaco Sunday. Nice and Paris Saint-Germain both won 1-0, so going into the game there were three teams atop Ligue 1. How would this young Monagesque side respond against Nantes? In the only way it knows how to this season; playing with flair and scoring goals for fun.

Final score: Monaco 4, Nantes 0.

Maybe Kylian Mbappe, scorer of two goals in the first half, was right when he said the score flattered the host; two goals right at the end of the first half did not reflect the balance of play. But what Monaco has right now in the likes of Bernardo Silva and Mbappe are players who can make the difference with a piece of individual brilliance.

It was interesting that the 18-year-old Mbappe, one of the breakout stars of this season, spoke to the TV cameras in the flash interview directly after the final whistle–or rather that his club trusted him to do so. He was likeable and charming on air, insisting that ever since he was a kid he always looked out for the names every time the France squad was announced, and he will do exactly the same next week. Even though he was never played for the Under-21s, he may find his name on Didier Deschamps’s list; his form has been that irrepressible this season.

It will be fascinating to see how Monaco approaches the summer market. Every star in the squad will be a target for bigger teams, and the club has a policy of selling if the price is right (as it did with Anthony Martial to Manchester United in 2015). Silva looks set to leave, but how the club deals with approaches for the likes of Mbappe, Tomas Lemar, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy remains to be seen. Most important could be keeping coach Leonardo Jardim at the helm. 

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