Monaco - Lyon
This is the big clash of the weekend in France. The leaders Lyon travel to Monaco on Sunday evening in a very high-profile game with a lot at stake for both teams, but also for PSG and Marseille who could put pressure on Lyon by winning their game earlier in the weekend.
Lyon have a four-point lead at the top of the table but they are playing Monaco and PSG back to back in the next two weekends and they could find themselves in 3rd position come Monday February 9th.
So it is very important for Les Gones to deal well with their trip to Monaco. The big problem, obviously, is that Alexandre Lacazette will miss this game through injury. He picked up a hamstring injury last weekend against Metz and will be out for up to four weeks. With 21 goals in 22 league games this season, he was on fire and was carrying his team. Without him, Lyon is a totally different team. They still have Nabil Fekir, one of the revelations of the season, who has scored eight goals and given five assists, they still have a strong engine in midfield with Tolisso, Ferri and Gonalons.
They have a good goalkeeper in Lopes, two experienced defenders in Jallet and Bisevac but Lacazette was immense for them and the void left by his absence is as immense. It will be interesting to see if Hubert Fournier changes his tactics and his 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield formation now that Lacazette is out.
On top of that, Lyon travel to Monaco, the most in-form team in France right now. Leonardo Jardim and his players have won 11 and drawn one of their last 12 games in all competitions. Monaco have registered 11 clean sheets in that period. The only team to score against them was Lyon in a 1-1 draw in the League Cup, a tie which Monaco won on penalties.
The last time they lost at home, in any competition, was in September. Jardim is doing a great job. His 4-3-3 formation is extremely solid. He added pace up front with Carrasco, Dirar or Ocampos while Berbatov is still very efficient (six league goals in 13 starts so far). Bernardo Silva, the young Portuguese midfielder signed permanently from Benfica last week, has been another one of the revelations of the season in Ligue 1.
Monaco have a lot to hit Lyon with. Their defence looked even stronger now that Lacazette won’t face it. The club from the Principality is now 5th in the table, only 9 points behind the leaders. A win on Sunday and they would be right back in the title race! I think that Lyon will struggle without Lacazette and Monaco will take advantage of it to grab a win.
The odds are in favour of Monaco with a home win at 2.10. A draw is at 3.20 and a Lyon away win is at 3.65.
Dimitar Berbatov is favourite to score first at 5.10. My best tip is Monaco to win without conceding a goal at 3.15.
Score prediction: Monaco 1 Lyon 0 at 6.75