Monaco without Falcao in Angers
Ligue 1 Conforama champions AS Monaco head to Angers SCO without top scorer and club captain Radamel Falcao as they look to close the 12-point gap to leaders Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table.
Angers SCO – AS Monaco
Leonardo Jardim’s side came from behind to beat follow UEFA Champions League aspirants Olympique Lyonnais 3-2 last Sunday, but the victory came at a cost for the Portuguese tactician, with Falcao pulling a thigh muscle before fellow attacker Keita Baldé was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
With injury and suspension costing Monaco two of their first-choice forwards – each of whom scored against Lyon – Stevan Jovetic is expected to lead the line, with Gabriel Boschilia given a rare start out wide. Monaco will come out all guns blazing if Jardim’s post-match press conference last week is anything to go by.
WATCH: Monaco leave Lyon broken-hearted
“Lyon respect us. They know that Monaco are the reigning champions of France. This was no miracle,” he said after the five-goal thriller at the Stade Louis II. “This was one of our best performances in terms of attitude. We turned up where it mattered. We deserved this win! I’m very proud of my players and I’m happy for all of them.”
Perhaps more impressive was the fact the win was sealed without first-team regulars Thomas Lemar, Djibril Sidibé, Jorge and Rachid Ghezzal. All four are back in training after recent injuries. Seydou Sy could get his second top-flight start in goal, meanwhile, with Danijel Subasic and Diego Benaglio both struggling for fitness.
Monaco are undefeated in their last nine Ligue 1 Conforama games, have twice as many points (50) as Saturday’s hosts (25) and will be strong favourites regardless of how they line up at the Stade Raymond Kopa. Angers have been emboldened by the winter signing of Prince Oniangué from Wolves, though, and entertain Monaco having not tasted a home defeat since November.
WATCH: Monaco claim the points against Angers
Their luck once again deserted them on the road against Montpellier Hérault SC last Saturday though, with Paul Lasne and Isaac Mbenza scoring to cancel out Karl Toko Ekambi’s opener for Les Scoïstes, much to the chagrin of Jardim’s opposite number, Stéphane Moulin.
“I’m more disappointed than frustrated,” he said. “We were playing well and should have been ahead because we were controlling the game. I don’t understand it. We gave them the initiative. We often come up against teams playing a 4-3-3, so that shouldn’t have bothered us. We’re to blame for the defeat and it’s a setback. You can’t go from black to white without explanation.”
Croatian centre-back Mateo Pavlovic is suspended, making Romain Thomas’ recent return from a broken hand particularly timely. Moulin is likely to name an unchanged and – but for Pavlovic – full-strength side as the westerners chase a first win over the principality powerhouse since January 2016.
Angers: to follow
Monaco: to follow