Sunday, March 3, 2024

Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain vs AS Monaco

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Betfair

The Parc des Princes sets the stage for the return of Ligue 1 action on Friday evening as Paris Saint-Germain host AS Monaco in an intriguing contest.

Luis Enrique’s team secured their position at the top of the league standings with a convincing 3-0 victory over Reims in their previous match. On the other hand, Adi Hutter’s Monaco side were held to a goalless draw by Le Havre in their last outing two weeks ago.

Paris Saint-Germain

Eager to rectify their recent stumble after encountering a 2-1 Champions League loss at AC Milan, marking their second defeat from two European away games this season, PSG sought redemption against Reims, and they turned to star attacker Kylian Mbappe to secure a resounding victory.

Despite rumors of Real Madrid’s potential withdrawal from pursuing Mbappe, the 24-year-old made a swift impact by opening the scoring just three minutes into the match with a remarkable side-footed volley. He continued his prowess by netting two more goals from assists by Carlos Soler and Bradley Barcola, marking a record-breaking eighth Ligue 1 hat-trick in the current century—surpassing the previous tie of seven with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mbappe’s performance against his former club could serve as a reminder of his immense talent and influence, potentially extending PSG’s lead in the league standings.

Under Luis Enrique’s guidance, PSG have shifted from playing catch-up to claiming a one-point advantage over Nice and a three-point lead over upcoming opponents Monaco at the league’s summit. They have reverted to their winning ways with five consecutive victories in Ligue 1, scoring three goals in each of those encounters.

The five-game winning streak stands as PSG’s longest in Ligue 1 in 2023. Coincidentally, they have triumphed in their last five home matches across all competitions without conceding a single goal—a daunting statistic for Monaco fans, especially following their recent setback against a newly-promoted team.

Team News

PSG’s 17-year-old prodigy Warren Zaire-Emery marked his senior France debut during the international break, but unfortunately, his memorable moment turned into a nightmare as he sustained a severe ankle injury while scoring in France’s 14-0 victory over Gibraltar.

The club have confirmed that Zaire-Emery will be sidelined until the New Year. He joins several other players in the treatment room, including Marco Asensio (foot), Nuno Mendes (hamstring), Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles), Danilo Pereira (hamstring), Sergio Rico (head trauma), and Keylor Navas (back).

Furthermore, late returns from international duty in Asia and South America may affect the availability of Marquinhos, Manuel Ugarte, and Lee Kang-in for the upcoming match against Monaco. Marquinhos, in particular, needs assessment for a hamstring issue. However, Enrique will receive a boost with the returns of Achraf Hakimi and Randal Kolo Muani from suspension.

AS Monaco

A couple of weeks following their 2-0 defeat on Lille’s home ground, Monaco’s struggles away from home nearly led to a costly outcome in their encounter with Le Havre. The drama escalated when Le Havre was awarded a crucial penalty in second-half injury time, presenting an opportunity to secure a late win.

Samuel Grandsir took charge of the penalty kick, but his attempt was disappointingly tame and easily saved by Philipp Kohn, the Monaco goalkeeper. Kohn’s well-positioned dive and secure catch ensured a draw for his team in the dying moments of the match.

Although a defeat wouldn’t have significantly affected Monaco’s position in the league standings, Adi Hutter’s team remains in third place with a comfortable four-point lead over Reims. It obviously sounds extremely unrealistic, but a victory by a margin of at least five goals in this game could potentially elevate them to the top of the table.

Monaco, who scored 12 goals in their first four Ligue 1 away matches this season, have struggled to find the net in their recent away encounters. However, Kohn’s late penalty save marked Monaco’s first clean sheet on the road since March.

It’s noteworthy that in the era of PSG’s Qatar Sports Investment, no visiting team has scored more Ligue 1 goals at the Parc des Princes than Monaco, tallying 13 goals in 10 matches. Additionally, Monaco remained unbeaten in their last three meetings with PSG, securing a 3-1 victory at the Stade Louis II in February after a 1-1 draw in the capital back in August 2022.

Team News

Midfielder Youssouf Fofana will serve a domestic suspension and miss this game, which represents a huge blow to Monaco’s hopes as they travel to the capital. Mohamed Camara is expected to step in, fending off competition from Eliot Matazo and Edan Diop to deputize for the France international.

Additionally, Monaco face a series of injury concerns with Mohammed Salisu (groin), Caio Henrique (ACL), Myron Boadu (muscle), and Eliesse Ben Seghir (shoulder) all unavailable. Moreover, the team needs to assess the fitness of Folarin Balogun, Takumi Minamino, and Guillermo Maripan following their recent international duties worldwide.

Regarding Balogun, although he missed out on a start against Le Havre and has experienced a dip in form after an impressive start with four goals in his first three Ligue 1 matches, Wissam Ben Yedder has also faced a goal-scoring drought, finding the net only once in Monaco’s last nine top-flight outings.

Conclusion

With Ben Yedder struggling to replicate his early-season form and concerns over Balogun and Minamino’s late arrivals back to the Principality, another joyless and scoreless outing on the road could await Monaco on Friday.

PSG’s midfield certainly has a more depleted look to it, and the champions are not without their own international break-related concerns, but Les Parisiens have re-fortified the Parc des Princes and should extend their lead at the top with a professional performance, with Mbappe likely to hit the back of the net against his former club.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Betfair

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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