Thursday, May 23, 2019

Prediction: Monaco vs Atletico Madrid

Verdict: Atletico Madrid win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to put last years Champions League heartache behind them, Diego Simeon’s Atletico Madrid side will look to get the new campaign off to a winning start when they travel to Stade Louis II on Tuesday night.

Monaco

Starting with Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco side, although they secured their customary second-place finish in Ligue 1 last season, Tuesday’s hosts did finish 13 points adrift of bitter rivals PSG and many are worrying that the gulf between the two sides is only widening. Coming off the back of a lackluster 1-1 draw away at Toulouse over the weekend, Monaco are without a win in their last four matches in Ligue 1 and currently find themselves 15th in the table with morale around the camp very low. While it may have been a poor start to the new season, there are some good omens for Monaco. The Monégasques have won all three of their meetings against Spanish sides in the Champions League. However, and far more worrying for Jardim will be his sides terrible defensive record in European competitions. Monaco have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last 14 Champions League games, the longest current run of sides taking part in the 2018/19 edition of the competition.

Team News

Croatia international and World Cup hero Danijel Subasic is still sidelined with a muscle injury and missed Monaco’s first opening five fixtures.

Russia star Aleksandr Golovin is still out after ankle trouble, while Rony Lopes, Stevan Jovetic, Willem Geubbels and Pietro Pellegri are also sidelined from the attacking sector.

Atletico Madrid

As for Diego Simeone’s side, while they may have convincingly lifted the Europa League title last year, the Argentinian boss will not be happy with their dreadful run in the Champions League group stages. Finishing only behind Barcelona in La Liga last season, Atletico are hoping to keep up their momentum. Managing to keep hold of Antoine Griezmann and bringing in highly-rated Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, Los Colchoneros won’t accept anything less than a more impressive run in the Champions League this time around. However, their have been some signs of fatigue entering their new domestic campaign, while they have only lost one of their opening four games, Tuesday’s hosts have failed to take points off of the likes of Real Betis and Eibar. Regarded to be one of the best defensive sides across Europe, they do boats an impressive record when on French soil. Beating Marseille in the Europa League final last season, they have not lost to a French outfit since 2000, when they lost 4-2 to Lens.

Team News

French defender Lucas Hernandez is struggling with a gastric problem and may not feature against Monaco but he has been named in the squad.

Croatia international Nikola Kalinic is sporting an ankle injury, while Vitolo has a knee problem and Santiago Arias has a fractured rib. Stefan Savic is absent with a calf problem.

Key Factors to Consider

  • This will be the first time the two sides have met in a European competition.
  • Atletico Madrid have lost just two of the last 11 instances when they have faced a new opponent in the Champions League for the very first time (W7 D2), 0-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in February 2015 and 1-2 to Benfica in September 2015.
  • Monaco striker Falcao has scored in each of his last three Champions League games, his longest run in the competition.
  • Monaco have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last 14 Champions League games, the longest current run of sides taking part in the 2018/19 edition of the competition (Galatasaray also 14).
  • Atletico Madrid will become the ninth Spanish team to face Monaco in European competition.

Conclusion

Although it hasn’t been the perfect start that Diego Simeone would have wished for after all their success last season, Atletico will see Tuesday night as the perfect opportunity to kickstart their year. With both Diego Costa and Antonie Greizmann expected to lead the line at the Stade Louis II, we believe Atletico will add more pressure onto a Monaco side that have now only managed to keep one clean sheet so far this year.

Verdict: Atletico Madrid win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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