Laurens: Resurgent Monaco have enough to kick off Ligue 1 title defence in style

Monaco, the French champions, start the defence of their title at home on Friday evening against Toulouse. It has been a very busy summer for l’ASM with the departures of key players (Mendy, Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Germain, Dirar) and a lot of new faces in the squad (Tielemans, Meité, Mboula, Kongolo). For now, Kylian Mbappé, Thomas Lemar and Fabinho are still at the club and they are all in the squad for this first match of the season. Dibrell Sidibé has also passed his fitness test and is involved. Kongolo is out though.

The Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim will field a very strong team in his usual 4-4-2 formation, with Falcao and Mbappé up front. Their partnership was great last season.

Monaco have a great home record in the league against Toulouse, with their last defeat at the Stade Louis II against them back in 2006! Last season, Monaco only lost one league match in their stadium, against Lyon, racking up a single draw and 17 wins!

It will be a huge task for Toulouse to get something from this match. The visitors will have to do without some key players as well. Centre back Issa Diop is out injured, while his usual partner at the back, Christopher Jullien is in the squad but won’t start. Striker Ola Toivonen is suspended and Toulouse also lost their captain Martin Braithwaite and their playmaker Oscar Trejo in the summer. Andy Delort will lead the line in a 4-3-3 formation but the champions are favourites in this match and will get the win.

The odds are massively in favour of Monaco with a home win at 1.30. The draw is at 5.40 and a Toulouse away win is at 9.50.

Kylian Mbappé is favourite to score first at 3.50. My best tip is Monaco to win both halves at 2.80.

Score prediction: Monaco 2 Toulouse 0 at 6.75