Thursday, 6 April 2017

Angers - Monaco

PICK: Monaco AH -0,5 @1,806 PINNACLE 5/10

On 8th of April, 12th placed Angers will host league leaders Monaco on their Stade Jean-Bouin, where they won 6 of last 7 matches. Two in cup, 4 in league, while the only team who survived here was Rennes (0-0). What can we say about Monaco? Still in the Champions league, scoring most goals in Europe, having goal difference +61! (PSG has 2nd best in the league with +39!)

Angers won against Bordeaux in French cup today, and same as Monaco they are going through. With 39 points, sitting on 12th position, I think that they are safe, even if they will probably need to go over 40 points line, to be sure. Their schedule is pretty ugly right now, as next three opponents coming on Jean-Bouin are Monaco, PSG and Lyon. Away, they will need to fight with clubs who are in need of points (next two - Dijon and Lorient). They played really bad in Nantes in last week. Their performance was poor, and Nantes totally deserved all three points. Cross of Cissokho and header of Diedhiou was almost everything what they created. We can add one shot from big distance, which was saved by Dupé, but that is all. Their lineup against Bordeaux was strong. Letellier was in the goal as usual in cup, while other players were more or less players from first eleven. Pepe started instead of Bamba, Pavlović instead of Traore,... All in all, lot of first players played bigger part of the match.

Monaco was destroyed by PSG in final of the Coupe de la Ligue (4-1), but they bounced back against Lille in Coupe de France. They were in front with 2 goals, having player more on the pitch, being totally in control of the match, but they conceded a goal in 94th minute. Goal was not product of mistake in defence, but excellent free kick of El Ghazi and De Sanctis was without chances. Monaco played with Raggi, Almany Toure, Diallo, Jorge, Dirar, Moutinho and Cardona in first lineup, which means that Sidibe, Bernardo Silva, Falcao, Subašić, Jamerson, Mbappe and Bakayoko were all on the bench. Sidibe (63'), Silva (70') and Falcao (80') played in second half, but 10 minutes of Falcao are just good sign, as he is finally coming back after injury. Anyway, they qualified into semis of cup with more than half squad rested. I know that I am writing hymns for Monaco for whole season, but this team simply impressed me. They are playing aggressive, with high pressing, creating enormous number of chances, and what impress me the most is how their system works with full backs. Even if they lost in final against PSG, their goal was incredible team work. What impressed me at the goal was situation of both Sidibe and Mendy. Sidibe was in the role of assistant (passing to Lemar), while Mendy was on the left side from Lemar, as well in the box which is absolutely incredible for 4-4-2 system. Monaco is arriving in the box with 6-7 players like nothing and that will cause lots of problems to Angers.

Moulin disappointed me in Nantes, with really defensive approach. I could even say that they went into the match to win the point, not to win. They were trying to close every hole in defence, and match was simply boring in first half. Luckily in second Nantes scored twice, and things were different then, but anyway they were unable to make some serious threats. Lots of people are thinking in the way, Angers have won against Bordeaux in cup, that will motivate them, etc. I am not in this group of people. My way of thinking is, that Angers, who is not used to play 3 matches in a week, will have one day less for rest and to prepare on next match (Monaco played against Lille one day earlier). And besides that, Jardim rested half of squad, so they are coming in the match much more fresh. It's true that Champions League match is in front of them on Tuesday, but for example before both matches against Manchester City, they played with maybe one or two changes, nothing more. Change means that one of trio Mbappe, Falcao and Germain starts on the bench or that one of trio Fabinho, Moutinho or Bakayoko starts on the bench, or that one of trio Mendy, Sidibe, Toure starts on the bench. All of them are high quality players, and Angers can only dream about players like that. As Sidibe said on one of press conferences recently, this is the year when everyone feels that they can reach something special. First goal of this team is to win the league, and then everything else. So I believe that they won't risk league points for Champions league. I expect strong lineup by Jardim, and I am sure that against the team which is weak in defending counter attacks, defending through balls and making lots of mistakes in the defence, Monaco will exploit their quality and create lots of chances. If we add their amazing chance conversion rate to whole analysis, then I think that something really strange should happen in the game, that they won't grab all three points in Angers.

FT: 0-1

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