OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and on Saturday he's looking at Monaco v Caen.
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 is a regular on BT Sport as well as contributing to Unibet.
Monaco v Caen (Sat, 4pm)
Monaco are going through a really difficult period. They were beaten again on Tuesday in the Champions League by Besiktas at home (2-1) after losing at Lyon last weekend and only drew the previous game at home in the league against Montpellier (1-1). They haven’t won any of their last four matches in all competitions.
The players have lost a lot of confidence – especially the defenders – and Leonardo Jardim, the manager, is really struggling to find the answers to the Monaco problems. So this is a huge game for l’ASM, second in the table and six points behind the leaders PSG.
They welcome a Caen side eighth after a solid start of the season. Jardim could make a few changes to the team beaten in midweek with the return of Jorge and Rony Lopes from the start while Meité could be given a new chance to impress in midfield.
Monaco were not aggressive enough against Besiktas and Jardim needs his players to be more committed in the challenges. Caen will be very physical on Saturday and Monaco will have to respond. They will also have to find a way to beat one of the best defence in the league.
Radamel Falcao scored in midweek and has 12 goals in his eight league matches. He will be Monaco’s main threat once again alongside Keita Baldé who is slowly finding his feet in this team. Monaco rarely lose at home to Caen in the league but this fixture ended in a draw in five of the seven times those two teams met at the Stade Louis II.
Caen will have no fear going to a struggling side. They have been hard to beat this season and quite clinical up front as well. They are the fourth best defence in the league with just six goals conceded in nine games.
Once again they will defend deep and make it really hard for the opposition to find space and create chances. However, Monaco have to react and have to win at home.
I think it will be a tough game but they will get three very important points. Keita Baldé will score first I think at 6.75 and my best bet is under 2.5 goals scored at 2.55.
- Monaco 2, Caen 0 (13-2, Unibet)
- Keita Balde to score first (6-1, Unibet)
- Under 2.5 match goals scored (6-4, Unibet)