The young Frenchman has been irrepressible of late and continued that form with a stellar show for the Principality club on Sunday…
Going into the weekend’s Ligue 1 match against Caen, AS Monaco’s teenage striker Kylian Mbappe had scored in the club’s last six matches in all competitions and netted a cool total of nine goals.
He was not done, though. On the away trip to relegation-threatened Caen on Sunday, Mbappe scored in the seventh consecutive game. And so it happened that, on the night Monaco notched a 3-0 win to continue their dominance at the top of the Ligue 1 table, Mbappe scored, won a penalty for his team after a stellar run, and then headed home the third.
It made him the youngest player, at 18 years and three-months, to score 13 goals in Ligue 1 in 30 years.
The highly-rated and much sought after prodigy had already given a glimpse of his massive potential earlier in the week. He scored the first goal in his team’s thrilling 3-1 win over Manchester City in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16. Mbappe had scored even in the first leg of the tie.
It prompted a certain Arsene Wenger to comment on Ligue 1’s official YouTube channel: “Mbappe is not exactly Thierry Henry, but it’s true that he has similar qualities. The future, the talent is similar. The potential is similar. After that, has he the same level of motivation, desire and intelligence that Thierry had? The next two or three years will tell us that.”
Wenger hasn’t been the only one to have seen the similarities. It was reported that after Mbappe’s stint at the prestigious Clairefontaine academy, the likes of Real Madrid were hoping to sign the player.
Just as Henry had done so before him, Mbappe chose to sign up for Monaco, even breaking the legendary Frenchman’s 21-year-old record of being the club’s youngest debutant, when he came on as a substitute in December 2015 against Caen. Two months later, he broke another Henry record – becoming the youngest Monaco player to score.
Against Caen on Sunday, at the Stade Michel d’Ornano, Mbappe displayed his similarities to the former France striker. And each of the three goals on the night provided exhibits to the talent.
In the first, there was the same touch-and-move tendency Henry had perfected at Arsenal. He cushioned a long ball from defence back to captain and striker partner Valere Germain before charging into the box for the return pass. It came almost instantly. Mbappe killed off the move with a left-foot strike, just after beating two defenders with a flick of the ball to make space.
Then there was the burst of pace that helped him charge into the box, only for a helpless Caen defender to trip the runaway forward. If there was one thing Henry was criticised for as a player, it was his shortage of headed goals. Incidentally, Mbappe positioned himself neatly to remain unmarked for a Joao Moutinho cross, to head home the third.