Monaco v Nantes
Monaco host Nantes as Philippe Clément’s side tries to assure itself in Ligue 1 after a somewhat mixed bag of results which has left them fifth in the table with 14 points so far. There will be no better opportunity than against a Nantes side that are struggling with the rigour and rhythm of European football, and have only won once out of their last eight games.
Whilst Les Canaris made a good showing at home to Lens last time out in Ligue 1 drawing 1-1, an away trip to Monaco will be a difficult undertaking – as they face the team that they have lost the most to in France’s top tier (100 losses).
The principality side have won their last three Ligue 1 games after failing to win any of their previous four. Wissam Ben Yeddar has finally got off the mark this season, as his pattern of slow early season form repeats itself from last season. However, with a Breel Embolo partnership up front, the pair have potential to become a potent threat. Young midfielder Youssouf Fofana comes off the back of international duty with France, and looks set to continue his consistent and energetic performances in midfield.
Nantes simply haven’t scored enough goals, being joint 2nd bottom of the goal scoring table with Brest and Auxerre – only Ajaccio have scored less with a measly total of four. Les Canaris can be a threat through Ludovic Blas, Mustafa Mohamed, and Moses Simon – but they just haven’t shown it enough yet this season.
Monaco should be feeling cautiously confident heading into the game against Nantes, in which they should get a positive result against a struggling Jaune et vert side.
Lens v Lyon
Lens are hoping to continue their blistering start to the season against a Lyon side that are still under pressure from the club’s hierarchy as well as its fans to be fighting further up the Ligue 1 table.
Lens have only won one of their last 11 Ligue 1 home games against Lyon, drawing five and losing five, winning on one occasion 3-0 in 2008 under Jean-Pierre Papin. This season, they should be best placed to defy that stat, as the Sang & Or have won every home game so far this season.
Lyon will pose an attacking problem for the home side however, with the attacking front three of Lacazette, Toko Ekambi, and Tetê looking more than threatening against Paris Saint-Germain in their last match. Johann Lepenant looks settled in the number 6 position with Tolisso offering experience alongside him – the midfield area is where this game could be lost or won for both sides as it looks as if the wide positions will be matched up on both sides.
Seko Fofana is the obvious threat for Lens as a dynamic attacking force, yet he makes it easy to forget the hard work of forwards Florian Sotoca and Loïs Openda, who have been working in tandem to both stretch and physically challenge teams. Wing-backs will once again be crucial for Lens’ style of play under Frank Haise, but their exposure to dangerous attackers such as Lyon could be their downfall.
The record suits Lyon, but recent form and confidence suits the home side better – a draw or a win for the home side is a likely result.
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