France Ligue 1 – Nantes v Monaco Preview (20/8/16)


Nantes preview

Just once change to the Nantes squad that beat Dijon 1-0 away from home last week. Big man upfront Emiliano Sala is injured and replaced by Icelandic international Kolbeinn Sigthorsson who caught the eye with some good performances in the Euros. Many rumours were that he’d leave the club this summer, and may still do yet. Nantes weren’t overly special against Dijon but they got the job done and defended very well. They restricted opposition chances very well and this is to be expected with a Rene Girard side. I mentioned last week that Nantes are hoping Girard delivers a more attractive style of football compared to Michel der Zakarian. But honestly I don’t think much will change and Nantes’ main weapons are strong physique, keeping things tight and more often than not registering clean sheets will be one of their main priorities. Something like that here against a team like Monaco is definitely to be expected.

Monaco preview

The south coast club kicked off their season with a 2-2 draw against Guingamp. They did come from 0-2 down to rescue a point, so it wasn’t all doom and gloom. However, the really big result for them occurred in midweek when they beat Villarreal 2-1 away from home in the Champions League qualifier. Nobody really expected that outcome and it leaves them with a great chance of making the group stages. The second leg is on Tuesday night and they would be forgiven if most of their attention was on that match. Coach Leonardo Jardim has taken no risks with certain players ahead of this trip to Nantes. Regular starters including Djibril Sidibe, Fabinho, Jemerson & Guido Carrillo will all miss this clash. The strike duo of Fa,aco & Wagner Love both remain on the sidelines too and Monaco once again seem to lack good options going forward. Jardim is the master of squad rotation and getting the most out of his players but with Villarreal on the horizon, even he must be distracted.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This is a really good time for Nantes to take on Monaco. The visitors played just three nights ago, have a few players either rested or injured, and crucially have a massively important match to look forward to on Tuesday night. The Champions League is worth so much to Monaco that they simply have to prioritise the Villarreal fixture and it could affect them here. Of course, that doesn’t mean they will automatically lose. The Monaco squad is big and a number of usual bench players will try and catch the eye.Let’s not forget that Nantes are a very solid team themselves though. Under normal circumstances they’d have every chance of winning this game even if they faced a full strength Monaco. I don’t think this will be a particularly good game, probably devoid of chances and won’t contain many goals. Nantes won 1-0 last weekend and I could see a similar scoreline again. I would prefer to back them DNB but the -0.25 handicap will have to do instead around the 2.05 mark. I just have to bet against Monaco this weekend and this is almost an automatic fade of them considering the situation.

Prediction: 1-0
Recommended bet 1 unit: Nantes -0.25 @ 2.04 (minimum odds acceptable 1.90)

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