OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's casting his eye over the weekend Ligue 1 action, starting with Lille v Monaco tonight.

Julien is a London-based sports correspondent for Le Parisien and a veritable French football expert. He writes in French and English for a number of esteemed publications and appears on BT Sport's European Football Show every Sunday as well as contributing to unibet.

Lille v Monaco (7.45pm)

Monaco travel to Lille on Friday evening and could go level with PSG at the top of the Ligue 1 table with a win. The current champions bounced back well after their humiliation at Nice two weeks ago (4-0) by drawing at Leipzig in the Champions League and winning easily against Strasbourg (3-0).

Radamel Falcao scored two more goals and now has nine in six league matches! He is absolutely on fire, despite his team still being a work in progress. As a collective unit, this Monaco side still has a lot to improve.

This is a tricky game for the champions, who are currently second in the table. Thomas Lemar who missed the last two matches is back in the squad but should be on the bench. Daniel Subasic is still out injured. So Benaglio will start in goal, while Djibril Sidibé is suspended. So Almany Touré will replace him on the right-hand side.

Keita Baldé, who signed from Lazio for 30m Euros this summer, is still not fit to start or even be in the squad. So Stevan Jovetic should partner Falcao up front in Monaco’s usual 4-4-2 formation. The former Manchester City forward was very interesting last weekend. He complements Falcao well. Rachid Ghezzal will have another start on the right-hand side to impress manager Leonardo Jardim.

Monaco will host Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday in a crucial match in their European campaign, so they need to prepare well on Friday at Lille. They need to continue their recovery after the Nice defeat. Monaco won 4-1 away at Lille last season but otherwise, it has been a difficult place to go in recent years.

However, all the pressure will be on the home side on Friday evening. Lille are struggling so far this season under Marcelo Bielsa. The manager, one of the best in the world, is taking longer than expected to get this team going. Lille are currently 17th in the table with just five points from their six league matches this season. They have won only once for two draws and three losses. They are struggling to create chances and to score.

The Argentinean coach is not happy with the sporting director and with the media. He feels they are too critical towards him and the team. Some of the fans are not happy either with the fact that the club sold their best forward, De Preville, to Bordeaux on the last day of the transfer window without replacing him. So, the context is not great at Lille before this huge game.

Kevin Malcuit is the only usual starter missing for the home side. He will be replaced by Bissouma on the right-hand side of the 3-3-3-1 formation that Bielsa plays in. The focus will be on Nicolas Pepe, who used to be a winger but has been repositioned as a number 9 by Bielsa. He has been struggling in this position and I don’t think he will shine on Friday against Monaco. I can see the visitors winning.

Julien's Tips

  • Correct score: Lille 0, Monaco 1 (7-1, Unibet)
  • First scorer: Falcao (3-1, Unibet)
  • Best bet: Monaco win to nil (21-10, Unibet)
1 Comment
  1. kelvin mwenda 5 years ago

    No chance for lille here ,so am sailing on the same boat,Monaco win,,

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