Ligue 1 PREVIEW: Lyon v Monaco: Week 37
After 36 games it pretty much comes down to 90 minutes on a Saturday evening in the Rhone valley as Lyon host Monaco at the Parc OL. With the title pretty much decided before the season began, the race for second place was always going to a more exciting affair. However as the end of February approached it seemed even that bit of excitement was going to be taken away from us fans. Monaco were eight points clear in second place and 10 points ahead of Lyon who were sixth.
Neutrals (and Lyon fans) would have been pleased therefore to see a combination of les Gones hitting top form and the side from the principality stuttering as the season reached its climax. Lyon have taken 23 points from a possible 27 and have rocketed up the table to take second place on goal difference from Monaco. In that same period the Monegasques have only won three games with draws against Caen, Reims and Rennes together with a surprise home defeat to Bordeaux being their big undoing.
It is clear that Lyon come into this crunch fixture as the form side with Alexandre Lacazette approaching something like his form of last season. The forward has found the net 12 times since the turn of the year including eight goals in his last eight games. With Maxwell Cornet and Rachid Ghezzal proving more than able teammates, goals have not been hard to find under Bruno Genesio of late. That trio will need to continue their good form if Lyon are to take the three points which will all but seal runner-up spot for the second consecutive season. The loss of Corentin Tolisso to a thigh injury will be a big blow for Genesio as the young midfielder had shown in recent weeks just what an exciting, versatile player he is.
Monaco on the other hand, have been a curious case this season. They have retained a top three spot since mid-December without having too many standout individuals. Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva, Guido Carrillo and Vagner Love have all played a starring role at times but it’s been nothing consistent. Maybe that’s why Monaco have done well, with so many players having brief spells of form and a teammate ready to step up when they stutter. Silva and Helder Costa have been the players in the limelight in recent weeks with Silva’s return to some form proving a relief for Leonardo Jardim after the young Portuguese midfielder had undergone something of a mixed season. Joao Moutinho will miss the game through injury whilst Fabinho is suspended. Good news for Monaco comes in the return from injury of Jeremy Toulalan and Adama Traore who had been out since October due to a fractured ankle.
With confidence flowing through the home side, this could turn out to be quite a straightforward victory for Lyon. With that confidence though can come complacency and the onus will be on Genesio to ensure that doesn’t creep in. Jardim will need to hope a number of his players can find their form for this winner takes all game. It will be a great spectacle.
LIGUE 1 PREDICTIONS