Caen – Monaco – Friday 19.30 GMT
Monaco missed the chance to keep their place in the title race after two poor results in their last two games. They drew twice at home against St Etienne (1-1) and Montpellier (0-0) which means they are too far now from PSG and Lyon (respectively seven and six points adrift).
They can still catch Marseille in third and only two points above, but they also have to look behind them as St Etienne and Bordeaux are not too far either. So the pressure will be high before this game away at Caen on Friday evening.
Interestingly enough, they feel better away from home. They have the best record in the league far from home this season while they have been struggling more at home. They are more comfortable away because they can play on the counter where they feel at their best. So they will leave Caen to take charge of the game and will hit them on the break.
Anthony Martial is in form with five goals in his last five league games. He has been carrying the team. He was preferred to Dimitar Berbatov on Tuesday against Montpellier but the Bulgarian striker should be back on Friday for this game. Leonardo Jardim has plenty of options now and will be able to rotate his team before the big clash with Juventus in Turin on Tuesday in the Champions League quarter final first leg.
The players have that game in mind more than the Caen one. I expect to be already thinking about Juve and not really be focused on this one. They would need a good performance though to prepare well for the clash with the Italians champions. However, they are all pretty tired and have been very inconsistent since knocking out Arsenal in the Champions League. I think they will struggle against Caen.
Indeed, the home side know that it is the right time to play against Monaco at home. They didn’t play in midweek so they will be fresher than their opponents. Their win at Nantes on Sunday, in the last second of added time, was a massive boost for the team.
After a great start of 2015, they had a bit of a dip with two defeats in the row and a draw at home against bottom club Metz. But they are back on track now with their success at Nantes. They showed great solidarity and team spirit to come back from 0-1 down and win the match away from home as well.
They don’t fear Monaco and have pretty much all their squad available as well. They know exactly how to play against Monaco. They drew 2-2 over there back in November. And overall, Caen are doing well against the league’s big guns. They beat Marseille and drew with PSG as well. They have their momentum back now and I think it will be a difficult game for Monaco who could drop two more precious points and only get a draw.
The odds are in favour of Monaco with an away win at 2.20. The draw is at 3.25 and a Caen home win is at 3.35.
Anthony Martial and Dimitar Berbatov are favourites to score first at 5.75 and my best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 4.80.
Score prediction: Caen 1 Monaco 1 at 6.75