Sunday, February 25, 2018

Prediction: Monaco vs Nice

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Ligue 1 returns for yet another massive round of games this weekend as the competition continues to heat up. Things are very tight at the top of the table, while things are the same at the bottom, with a win often able to see a side rise a number of places in the league. With this in mind, Monaco host Nice on Tuesday evening.

Monaco

Monaco have been in good form this season and they are looking to once again secure a Champions League spot for next year. After 20 games they have managed to win 13, draw three and lost four times, while they have netted 46 goals and conceded 19 times. Monaco’s form in the league has been something that has made their struggles in the Champions League far less damaging. In Europe’s premier competition they were knocked out at the group stage after an abysmal campaign. No wins in their six games were accompanied by two draws and six defeats, while they only managed to score six times, conceding 16 along the way. By comparison, in the league, they have won four of their last five games, while in 20 matches they have conceded just three more goals than the 16 they conceded in six Champions League games. After having to stomach elimination from Europe, Monaco will be desperate to catch leaders Paris Saint-Germain at the top, with the 11 point gap one that they cannot afford to allow to widen. Radamel Falcao will be their main man up front as the Colombian has netted 15 goals this season along with one assist. Falcao is Ligue 1’s second highest scorer, and he is integral to the way they play as his absence last weekend was keenly felt as they were held to a goalless stalemate by Montpellier.

Team news

Radamel Falcao is expected to return after training for the reigning champions, while Fabinho is available for selection following his yellow card suspension.

Nice

Nice have been in good form this season and they are looking to turn their decent start into a very positive campaign. After 20 games they have won nine, drawn three and lost eight, seeing them onto 30 points. In their last five they have managed to remain unbeaten, winning four and drawing once. The relegation zone is a hefty 11 points behind meaning their sights will be firmly set on those above them, however, they are the same amount short of Marseille in the final European spot. It is clear that they need to continue the impressive run of form that has put them in the position they find themselves in to take a European spot, and a win over Monaco would really announce to the league that Nice are not to be taken lightly. Scoring wise, they have only managed to net 25 goals this season, with 10 of them scored by former-Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli. The forward seems to have rediscovered his scoring touch, and the French side are benefitting for it, with Balotelli’s rise in conjunction with Nice’s jump up the table. Their defence will be put to the test by a Monaco side that are free-scoring at home, and this could be where the game is won and lost, as Nice have already conceded 29 goals this season, meaning their hosts will target their backline on Tuesday.

Team news

Mario Balotelli returned last weekend but he is at risk of suspension after picking up four yellow cards, while centre-forward Mickael Le Bihan is still out.

Key Factors

Monaco have scored at least once in each of their last 46 home matches.

Mario Balotelli is Nice’s top scorer with 10 goals in 12 Ligue 1 starts.

Radamel Falcao has netted 15 goals this season at an average of one every 92 minutes.

Monaco have not been as prolific as they were last season, scoring 46 goals, with Lyon (47) and PSG (59) outscoring them.

Monaco are unbeaten in their last five league games, while Nice come into the match on the back of a 1-0 win over Amiens.

Conclusion

The match could see goals with the return of Falcao and Balotelli, the top scorers for the two teams. Monaco are chasing PSG, but they will be targeting a return to the Champions League next season to right the wrongs of their awful performance this year. Nice, on the other hand, are 11 points short of the European places, meaning they will need to embark upon a string of wins to cut the gap. At home though, Monaco are superb with their scoring ability likely to prove too much for their visitors.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Benjamin Darvill


Ben is an English and creative writing graduate that is now working his way up in the world of sports journalism. Having been writing for the last four years, Ben has written for a number of websites specialising in sport, with football a particular passion. He is a long-suffering England fan and eternal optimist when it comes to the Three Lions.

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