This summer has been a busy one for AS Monaco, as the Mediterranean club announced signings and enjoyed an almost completely successful pre-season.
The red and whites remained undefeated in their pre-season campaign, having won three out of four friendly fixtures. However, the Principality side’s fifth and final friendly match saw a narrow 2-1 defeat to Spanish giants Real Sociedad, as Aleksandr Golovin’s equalising goal just wasn’t enough to win the match on Wednesday, July 28.
At the end of the day, friendly fixtures exist to give football teams the opportunity to train and teach younger players and newcomers, while also allowing clubs the chance to try new tactics and build on chemistry within a squad.
Monaco head coach Niko Kovac certainly made the most of this preseason by allowing academy players the chance to shine through their first minutes on the pitch with the pros. The Croat tactician also played every new signing from the summer transfer window so far to give them a chance to settle in before the 2021/22 Ligue 1 season begins.
The importance of Monaco’s pre-season this year cannot be understated, as the red and whites have deservedly earned their place in the UEFA Champion’s League Qualifiers this year.
For those unfamiliar with the Champions League, winning it is arguably the single most important title that any top flight European club can strive for, as clubs from throughout the continent collide with spectacular results.
Monaco would have avoided the qualifying stages of the Champions League this year, had they not finished the 2020/21 season in third place. Nevertheless, this is an amazing achievement and a testament to Kovac’s success since taking the helm of a club that only managed a ninth place finish in the previous season.
For the first leg of their qualifying fixtures, the Monegasques will travel to the capital of the Czech Republic to face off against AC Sparta Prague on Tuesday, August 3. A week later, on Tuesday, August 10 Monaco will host the Czech side at the Stade Louis II to play the second leg on their home turf.
If recent history is anything to go by, fans of Monaco should not be too worried about what’s to come, as the Principality side has found nothing but success in its previous Champions League qualifying meetings.
Here’s to hoping that Monaco find the back of the net enough times to qualify.