France Ligue 1 – Monaco v Guingamp Preview (12/8/16)

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Monaco preview

Les Monegasques have already played two competitive matches this season, both in the champions league against Fenerbahce. They managed to qualify over the two legs and now face Villarreal in the next round. Having already played twice competitively should give them a slight edge here, but on the flipside they lost striker Falcao to injury in that aforementioned second leg and he’s now out for a few weeks. Fellow striker Valerie Germain is suspended for this game, whilst Wagner Love remains injured. Monaco are lacking options upfront for tonight. Well, it’s not so much options they lack, but serious quality. The likes of Carrillo, Corentin Jean & Cavaleiro are going to have to get the business done. Monaco only won 10/19 in front of their own fans last season which is a fairly poor return for a team that finished second. Le Stade Louis II is far from a fortress and often lacks intimidation and atmosphere. Monaco are always well coached by Leonardo Jardim, but I do wonder how much the upcoming Champions League tie is in their mind.

Guingamp preview

The visitors travel here without a few players. At the back, the likes of Leveque, Lemaitre, Sankoh & Martins Pereira all miss out. However, quite how many of that selection would actually start if they were fit is debatable. New midfield signing from Toulouse, Etienne Didot is injured, whilst fellow new man upfront Alexandre Mendy is suspended. Guingamp lost long serving manager Jocelyn Gourvennec during the summer but have suitably replaced him with Antoine Kombouare. The former PSG boss is a manager I’ve always rated and his methods are often popular with a number of players. Never one to shy away from developing youth either, he should be a good fit at Guingamp. Kombouare often likes to be positive so we could see the visitors cause surprising problems to Monaco. I expect the Breton outfit to be quite dangerous on the counter attack. Despite possessing one of the weaker squads in Ligue 1, this group of players always seem to play well together as a team.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Both fixtures between the two sides last season were highly entertaining. Monaco won 3-2 on the south coast, whilst the two teams played out a thrilling 3-3 draw up in Guingamp. So based on last season we are set for a great game, but I have a feeling the scoring won't be as high here. For a start, Monaco are missing their three first choice strikers. They have plenty of quality in other areas of the field who are capable of scoring, but there's’ no doubt missing guys like Germain & Falcao will hurt them. Monaco are a strange side who often do the bare minimum to win without exerting too much stress on themselves. I suspect they will try something similar again here, knowing they need to conserve some energy ahead of their CL tie with Villarreal. That match is five days away but it’s a huge fixture for Monaco, and also for French football. There’s every chance the hosts could take their eye off the ball here. I’d say Guingamp have a decent opportunity of catching them cold. The visitors on a +0.75 handicap is very tempting, but at this stage of the season you need reliable bets and it’d be too dodgy risking a whole unit on them. I’ll have a small bet on the visitors straight up, but only with minimum stakes. My feeling is for a surprise and anyone thinking of backing Monaco @ a short price needs to think twice because they may not be entirely focused.

Prediction: 1-2
Recommended bet 0.25 unit: Guingamp to win @ 6.0 (minimum odds acceptable 5.50)

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