Getty Images

Monaco re-hires Leonardo Jardim to replace Thierry Henry

Leave a comment

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Despite firing manager Leonardo Jardim in October, Monaco has announced the French club is re-hiring the Venezuelan now tasked with rescuing the club that sits 19th in the Ligue 1 table.

Jardim was fired with Monaco bottom of the table, and French legend Thierry Henry was hired in his first managerial job to replace Jardim in October, hoping to pull the 2016/17 champions out of the basement. He was unable to rouse the troops to the relegation fight, winning just two league games in three months in charge.

Henry was placed on suspension Thursday as the club decided how to proceed, and a day later he was fired with Jardim placed back in charge. It was surprising that Jardim was fired in the first place, despite the poor position of the club. The 44-year-old has won a Ligue 1 title with Monaco and reached the semifinals of the Champions League as well. He also oversaw the development of numerous young players who went on to net the club massive transfer fees in the open market.

It was reported earlier in the week that Jardim could take charge as soon as Saturday, with the club facing a critical relegation battle with Dijon who sit just two points above Monaco in 18th. However, the club announced that Jardim will begin as Monaco boss on Sunday, meaning that interim manager Also potentially debuting this weekend is new signing Cesc Fabregas, who came over from Chelsea to help the relegation fight. Fabregas signed for Monaco while his former Arsenal teammate Henry was still in charge.

In the club release, vice president Vadim Vasilyev stated that he takes “full responsibility” for the “very complicated time” at the club. He also admitted numerous mistakes this summer and during the course of the season. “We are forced to see that we sold too many important players during the summer transfer window and despite considerable means invested errors were made to replace them,” Vasilyev said in the statement, “Which did not allow to compose a new competitive team. The dismissal decision of coach Leonardo Jardim was similarly too premature.”

Transfer rumor roundup: James to Spurs, Martins to Newcastle

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur reportedly want more than $100 million to sell Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid, but Los Galacticos have something else in mind to lower the price.

Spurs would get Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez as part of a deal, says AS, though the player’s star has fallen in recent years.

[ MORE: Barca lands De Jong ]

James has been on loan at Bayern Munich for a year and a half, and has played more under Niko Kovac. He missed six matches with a knee injury, but has three goals in nine Bundesliga appearances this season. It’s better than that, actually, as he has three goals and one assist in the matches which saw him on the field for more than a dozen minutes.

Would James plus cash be enough? Rodriguez is seven months older than Eriksen.

Newcastle has been linked with a pair of loan moves, with The Chronicle saying Mike Ashley sanctioned both during a weekend meeting with Rafa Benitez.

The manager had been reported as ready to walk away from the club if the Magpies hierarchy could not provide two players to his relegation battle.

Antonio Barreca and Gelson Martins are both starving for playing time at AS Monaco and Atletico Madrid, and Newcastle is looking moves which include the chance for permanent summer purchases.

Martins was linked as a possible swap piece in an Alvaro Morata deal, but he’d be a far more important part of Newcastle. The 23-year-old Portuguese playmaker only has 224 league minutes for Atleti, but scored 10 goals and registered nine assists for Sporting Lisbon last season.

The 23-year-old Barreca has struggled at both Torino and Monaco after a strong debut season in 2016-17.

— We’ve saved perhaps the best for last: If Chelsea doesn’t want to sell Callum Hudson-Odoi to Bayern Munich, do you believe they’d let the youngster stay in the Premier League. Bild is reporting that Liverpool is trying to bring the 18-year-old to Anfield.

Pressure increases on Thierry Henry as Monaco loses again

Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Thierry Henry’s first managerial stint took another turn for the worse on Tuesday as his Monaco side lost 3-1 at home to second-division Metz in the French Cup.

This latest defeat follows a 5-1 loss at home to Strasbourg in the French league on Saturday, a result which has the 2017 French champion languishing in 19th place.

[READ: Dele Alli out until March]

We have a real problem at the Stade Louis-II,” Henry said after the game, via L’equipe. “I do not know why, I have trouble grasping. We needed to tell each other truths after the match in the locker room. We must be united. I take everything for myself, the lack of aggressiveness, the fact of not being good at Louis II, the tactical errors. We lacked today to be decisive in the opposing end. It will be necessary to be united, to fight, to go forward and to be aggressive. I do not know if the guys realize what’s going on. I can not be in their heads. We are in a critical situation and we are here to try to save ourselves.”

Henry recalled Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic following a long spell out of the side, and only one appearance for Monaco since reaching the World Cup final. But surprisingly, even though Henry said winning this match was a priority for the club, he left key signing Cesc Fabregas on the bench.

When he brought the former Chelsea midfielder on after 69 minutes, second-division leader Metz was already 2-1 up at Stade Louis II.

Monaco had equalized through top scorer Radamel Falcao, but its chronic weakness in defense was again exposed as Metz comfortably reached the last 16 of the competition.

Henry’s immediate task is to win points to help the club escape relegation – starting with Saturday’s key game at Dijon, which is two points above Monaco in 18th spot.

In other French Cup games on Tuesday, first-division sides Guingamp, Lille and Toulouse advanced.

Cup holder Paris Saint-Germain hosts Strasbourg in Wednesday’s matches.

Henry’s Monaco draws 1-1 with Vieira’s Nice in French league

Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Old friends Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira had to split the points as Monaco drew 1-1 with French Riviera rival Nice on Wednesday in a scrappy match featuring three video reviews.

Winger Allan Saint-Maximin put Nice ahead in the 30th minute and 17-year-old defender Benoit Badiashile equalized shortly after halftime, becoming the youngest scorer in the French top flight this season. Badiashile’s header from a corner was deemed to have crossed the line by the use of goal-line technology.

[MORE: Ligue 1 scores, schedule]

Henry and Vieira are in their first seasons coaching in France, but they go way back and hugged warmly before kickoff.

Living next to each other in London, they blossomed with Arsenal and were part of the famed “Invincibles” side which went a whole season unbeaten in the Premier League. The Frenchmen also won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship in 2000, as well as playing together in the 2006 World Cup final.

Having started their illustrious careers as teenagers on the French Riviera – Henry with Monaco and Vieira with Cannes – they have come full circle as coaches.

Monaco had chances through Aleksandr Golovin and Rony Lopes, only for Nice to strike against the run of play following a sloppy mistake from Youssef Ait Bennasser. After he gave the ball away in midfield, Saint-Maximin took it off him easily and shrugged off defender Jemerson before shooting confidently past goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

The goal was awarded before being checked and confirmed by referee Benoit Bastien using VAR. Moments before the interval, he consulted VAR again to send off Nice striker Ihsan Sacko for a late challenge on defender Benjamin Heinrichs.

“There’s a lot of frustration and questions about the decisions. The red card is very harsh,” Vieira said. “It wasn’t a dangerous action and it had a negative impact on us.”

Bastien used VAR for the third time to award a penalty in the 75th, ruling that Badiashile impeded right back Youcef Atal when images suggested Atal initiated contact with Badiashile before tumbling down.

Benaglio guessed correctly to keep out Saint-Maximim’s spot kick. Monaco almost won it near the end when Radamel Falcao hit the post with a curling effort.

“A point isn’t enough for us, but we could have been sat here talking about a defeat,” Henry said. “I have no opinion about the VAR, those are their decisions. Diego saved the penalty – so much the better for us.”

Monaco has not won at home this season and is 19th – only one point ahead of last-place Guingamp, which beat Rennes 2-1 at home.

OTHER MATCHES

VAR also played a key role elsewhere as Saint-Etienne equalized with a penalty in a 2-1 home win against Marseille.

Referee Antony Gautier awarded the penalty in the 56th after goalkeeper Steve Mandanda upended forward Wahbi Khazri.

Gautier then changed his mind after the linesman signaled Khazri was offside when receiving the pass, but further confusion ensued as he then consulted VAR and re-awarded the penalty, which was confidently tucked away by Khazri.

There was no debating Khazri’s late winner, struck ferociously from 20 meters past Mandanda. It was his 12th league goal of the season and leapfrogged Saint-Etienne over Lyon into third place ahead of their local derby on Sunday.

Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman headed Marseille ahead early on from Florian Thauvin‘s excellent cross. The defeat increases the pressure on ninth-place Marseille and its coach Rudi Garcia after a string of poor performances have left fans disgruntled and angry.

In other matches, forwards Moussa Dembele and Nabil Fekir netted late on as Lyon rallied to draw 2-2 at Toulouse.

Nimes moved into 11th spot after winning 1-0 at home to Nantes.

Monaco keeper scores penalty winner in Coupe de la Ligue quarters

AS Monaco official Twitter
Leave a comment

It took 22 penalties to finally find a winner, but find a winner they did as Monaco advanced past fellow Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais in Coupe de la Ligue action.

The two sides had drawn 1-1 on goals from Monaco’s Rony Lopes and Rennais’ Benjamin Bourigeaud, with the visitors at Stade Louis striking first on the half-hour mark and Thierry Henry’s squad equalizing nine minutes after the break.

In the penalty shootout, each side missed twice in the original five-man pod, with Belgian youngster Youri Tielemans and Swiss international Kamil Glick missing for Monaco, while former Newcastle attacker Hatem Ben Arfa and Algerian international Mehdi Zeffane failing to score for Stade Rennais.

Everyone in spots 7-10 made their penalties, before Stade Rennais goalkeeper Tomas Koubek. That left 20-year-old Monaco goalkeeper Loic Badiashile to bag the winner, which he did.

Monaco did not win a single match under Thierry Henry until November 24, but they have won two in league play since then along with Wednesday’s Coupe de la Ligue victory, moving them into the semifinals of the competition. They still remain five points from safety in the Ligue 1 table, currently 19th with 13 points on the campaign.