Thursday, 20 April 2017

Lyon - Monaco

PICK: Monaco AH 0 @2,15 PINNACLE 4/10

On Sunday evening, 4th placed Olympique Lyonnais will host current league leaders AS Monaco on their stadium Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Both teams are still in European competitions. Monaco is in semi finals of Champions league, where they will meet Juventus, while Lyon is in semi finals of League Europe, where they will play against Ajax. On league table, Lyon was in position, that they didn't have anything to play for, but 2 defeats, 1 draw and 1 abandoned match was enough, that they are only 2 points in front of Bordeaux and 3 points in front of Marseille. Monaco on the other hand is on 1st place with same amount of points as PSG, but with 17 goals better difference, so if those two teams will finish with same number of points, Monaco will win the league.

Lyon played tough match with Bešiktaš on Thursday. They won after penalty kicks, which means that they played 120 minutes and unfortunately their key striker Lacazette picked up an injury in last seconds of regular time, so he was substituted before an overtime and he won't participate in the match against Monaco. Moreover, he is even questionable for 1st match against Ajax. That means that we'll probably see attacking line with Fekir and Ghezzal who came in as substitutes against Bešiktaš, while Depay will play instead of Lacazette. It will be interesting what will Genesio pick in midfield, but me personally wouldn't be surprised, if we would see Valbuena, Tolisso and Tousart starting on bench. That means that Darder and Ferri will take place in midfield. Being 19 points behind 3rd placed Nice and 34 points behind league leaders Monaco and PSG, Lyon has no chance to get into top3 this season. Their main goal is League Europe, through which they have all chances to qualify for Champions league next season. We can expect change also in defence, where Rybus will substitute one of the best individuals of quarter finals against Bešiktaš Morel, Rafael right full back Jallet, and Yanga-Mbiwa might start instead of one of center backs Nkoulou or Diakhaby. Even in case of collapse in last rounds, Lyon cannot fall too far. First French cup is already in hands of PSG, while second one will be almost for sure in hands of PSG or Monaco as well. That means that 2 additional places will lead to League Europe, so Lyon can be fearless.

For Monaco, every single match from now on till the end of the season is like final. PSG and Nice are both focused totally on Ligue 1 and especially from PSG, we cannot expect that they will drop points easily. Jardim is rotating team when it's possible, but I think that he won't rotate too much this time. Falcao was substituted in 67th minute against Borussia Dortmund, while Mbappe in 81st. Germain just proved that he is hell of joker from the bench, as he scored with first touch on the match and put the match against BVB in the bed. Third substituted was Bernardo Silva by Raggi, but that was already in 90th minute. Right Raggi said in one of interviews before the 2nd leg against BVB, that primary goal remains Ligue 1, while they will give their best to surprise in Champions league as well. Sidibe started with light activity and he might be ready for at least 2nd leg against Juventus if not before. For now Toure will take his place, but we need to admit that he is playing incredible! Fabinho didn't play in Champions league due to yellow cards and after some matches in row, we can finally expect the strongest Monaco (only with Sidibe injured). Bakayoko and Fabinho didn't start together not even one match against BVB, and with both of them this team is simply stronger, even if Joao Moutinho played visible role in Champions league as well. Fact is, that this team is amazing in this season. With raising star Mbappe and two experienced strikers Falcao and Germain Jardim can easily rotate in attack.

We need to consider the fact, that Monaco won after 90 minutes on Wednesday and that they played at home, while Lyon won against Bešiktaš after overtime, penalty kicks and that they played in Turkey, so they traveled more than 4000 km to go there and to come back to France. There is no doubt that key players will be more tired, there will be minor muscle problems after several knocks with Turks, and moreover their key player Lacazette is out for the match, and anyway I expect Genesio to rotate the squad. Everyone are saying how crazy Monaco plays, how they don't give a ... about defence, but Monaco conceded only 27 goals in 32 matches, which puts them on 2nd place when it comes to the best defence in the league. For example Lyon conceded 12 goals more than Monaco. When it comes to scoring, there is no one who could compete with Monaco. 90 goals in 32 matches is absolutely amazing. They scored more goals than Nancy, Bastia and Lille together! Seeing Lyon, they are letting much more space in defence than Monaco. They are making way too many individual errors. For example they let Bešiktaš to have 9 shots on target, which is far from average number. Bešiktaš scored twice, but they could score few more. It's true that Lyon prepared a lot of chances as well, but especially in midfield, it will be much much stronger to compete with Bakayoko and Fabinho than Hutchinson and Ozyakup. Monaco is balanced team, they can attack where they want. They have strong wing backs, strong midfield, individually amazing wings and exceptional attackers. Their main problem remains between the posts - Subašić made some mistakes as in league as in Champions league, but with conceding only 27, he is still among the best keepers statistically. I think that match importance is much bigger on away side, and that desire for points will be bigger from Monaco. As Sidibe said, they need to win something in this year. It's almost impossible that all those young talents will stay together also in next season, so they need to grab the chance this season.

FT: 1-2

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