France Ligue 1 – Monaco v Lorient Preview (22/1/17)

Monaco preview

  • The hosts could go two points clear at the top of the table with a victory. Nice have been slipping up with loads of draws recently, but for the most part Monaco have been winning and managed to get themselves into this position.
  • Les Monegasques are at full strength for the encounter. A couple of bench players like Nabil Dirar are at the African Nations Cup, but they have no injuries or suspensions. Left back Benjamin Mendy returns from his ban.
  • Monaco have won 8 out of 10 games at home and scored a whopping 34 goals in the process. They tend to absolutely thrash the poorer teams and many people will expect them to put Lorient to the sword today.

Lorient preview

  • Obtained a vital victory at home to Guingamp last week (3-1) However, heading into this match they have returned to the bottom of the table and only a victory could move Les Merlus up a place.
  • This would be seen as a bonus result for Bernard Casoni’s men. They have a terrible 0-2-8 away record and are likely to struggle at Le Stade Louis II.
  • Key striker Benjamin Moukandjo and centre back Zargo Toure are both still on African Nations Cup duty. The former is a crucial player and with him not around Majeed Waris has to deliver. He managed that last week, but chances are likely to be more limited for him here.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Monaco are strong favourites, as you’d expect. However, they are much bigger than I thought they would be. Surprisingly, a -1.5 handicap is offered close to the 2.0 mark and -1.25 is also a backable price.
  • It’s worth noting that Monaco have won 11 of their 14 matches by at least a two goal margin. This is a highly impressive hit rate and the type of opposition they usually beat up is someone like Lorient.
  • I just don’t see the visitors having the defensive ability to keep things tight here. Lorient’s best chance of getting something is to attack. Maybe they might score a goal but Monaco could easily bag 3 or 4 themselves.
  • The goal line is in between 3.25 and 3.5 and this seems pretty high for French football. I actually think this will probably cover, but you can’t really go backing this line in French football.
  • Lorient have improved under Bernard Casoni, but I just don’t see how they get close here. PSG were a -2 handicap vs them just before christmas and won 5-0. So I simply have to take a piece of this -1.25 line whilst it’s still available.

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Monaco -1.25 @ 1.73 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)