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Monaco 1-1 PSG: Ranieri switches to a diamond to prompt a Monaco fightback

Betting Statistics | Article posted on February 12th, 2014

The starting line-ups

For the second time this season, France’s top two played out a 1-1 draw.
Claudio Ranieri will be without Falcao for the rest of the campaign, and Dimitar Berbatov was only on the bench. He played a 4-4-2 system that became 4-2-2-2 when the wide players advanced, and drifted inside.
Laurent Blanc was without Edinson Cavani. He continued with a 4-3-3 system, with his new signing, Yohan Cabaye, also only on the bench.
This was a reasonably interesting match, where PSG dominated but Monaco did well to get themselves back into the game.
PSG start on top
PSG dominated possession in the opening minutes, finding space deep in midfield to control the game.
Monaco’s centre-forwards started off playing disciplined defensive roles, attempting to keep the side compact, but Thiago Motta was able to drop away from them to find space, and Marco Verratti moved into very deep, right-of-centre positions to collect the ball (see below). Their discipline allowed the PSG full-backs to advance.
In almost every big game PSG have played recently, the advanced positioning of Maxwell has been very important. He pushed on extremely high, taking advantage of James Rodriguez’s lack of interest in defending. He played one dangerous cross for Zlatan Ibrahimovic midway through the first half – those two have an excellent relationship, having played together for four different clubs.
Maxwell’s forward running was related to Javier Pastore’s narrowness. The Argentine drifted inside into his favoured number ten position, further helping to overload Monaco in midfield. In the first 10 minutes, Monaco’s system was  very boxy and they were unable to deal with players between the lines. Blaise Matuidi made some excellent runs in behind the defence from deeper positions.

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Pastore turned in a corner to give PSG an early lead, and this changed the game completely. Whereas Monaco previously sat deep and won possession in their own half, now they pushed much higher up the pitch and pressed Monaco in deep positions.
This worked excellently. Both strikers are hard-working, and Monaco won the ball from Verratti – previously given as much space as he pleased – to create a goalscoring opportunity for Lucas Ocampos. He was also involved in some excellent play in his usual zone down the left, running past Gregory van der Wiel before crossing dangerously into the box, where PSG didn’t have a spare man and therefore looked vulnerable despite the aerial qualities of their centre-backs. Thiago Motta, superb in the first fixture between these sides, used the ball well but could have contributed more defensively when the ball was wide, getting between the centre-backs to use his height.
The more Monaco pressed, the quicker they won the ball and the more possession they had. This was crucial because their best attacking

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