AS Monaco face a difficult challenge in Ligue 1 title race as they prepare to travel to out-of-sorts Lyon, who are keen to grab important win in race for European places. The two French heavyweights meet in contrasting forms, but have plenty to prove as French season is drawing to a close.
Difficult week for Lyon
Saying that French side Lyon are coming from an eventful week would be a huge understatement. Bruno Genesio’s man saw their last week’s clash at Bastia abandoned at half-time and postponed following a terrible crowd trouble in Corsica. Bastia fans ran on to the pitch in attempt to attack Lyon players even before the game at the Stade Armand Cesari, but tensions eventually simmered and the match was played for almost 55 minutes before the trouble flared up again. The game was eventually called off in what turned out to be an unprecedented incident in French football this season. Days after the troubling match in Corsica, Lyon travelled to Turkey for the return leg of the Europa League quarterfinal against Besiktas. The French side were beaten 2-1 after 90 minutes and the game headed into extra-time before it was eventually solved after the penalty shoot-out which saw the French team celebrate an important, morale-boosting victory. Shifting the attention back to domestic affairs, Lyon are currently fourth in the standings and without chances of grabbing the Champions League spot through Ligue 1 exploits, but it will not stop them from giving their best in the forthcoming high-profile clash against Monaco.
Bruno Genesio will be pleased to report a clean bill of health ahead of the AS Monaco clash. The Lyon coach is still, however, sweating over the fitness of defender Emanuel Mammana who is recovering from his knee injury, but could still be involved.
AS Monaco going from strength to strength
This goes without saying – AS Monaco are definitely the biggest surprise of the European club football this season. Leonardo Jardim’s side is a well-balanced mixture of youth and experience and a perfect blend which is enjoying some remarkable results this season. France should be proud with AS Monaco as the only French representative in the semifinals of the Champions League, a fantastic result which was achieved in style too. AS Monaco have dispatched Bundesliga heavyweights Borussia Dortmund 6-3 on aggregate to once again prove they are here to stay and to stake their claim on the coveted trophy. The world stands in awe with AS Monaco’s exploits this season and drawling about the players such as Kylian Mbappe, who has taken the world by storm with his impressive displays for the Principality club. The talented teenager has already set and crushed a number of records as he continues to score with ease for his side. The exciting French prospect has already drawn comparisons with legendary Thierry Henry and is expected to be one of the hottest transfer commodities this summer. Real Madrid have already approached the French club as they look to place dibs on the talented forward.
Nguinda Ndiffon and Gabriel Boschilia are ruled out for the Sunday night’s clash, whereas the visitors are unlikely to risk Guido Carillo and Djibril Sidibe who are both just recovering from their groin injury and illness, respectively.
Home side Lyon will be a tough nut to crack, but AS Monaco have gained plenty of self-confidence this season, thanks to some rather impressive results, and feeling positive about their chances. The Principality club cannot afford a single slip up in the closing stages of the season since Paris Saint-Germain are breathing down their neck in the title race.
Top pick: Monaco 2.62 (13/8) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: Monaco & Both teams to score – yes 4.00 (3/1) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Kylian Mbappe to score anytime 2.70 (17/10) @Ladbrokes