OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's casting his eye over tonight's Monte Carlo match-up.
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.
Monaco v Montpellier (7.45pm)
Monaco host Montpellier on Friday evening, four days after being humiliated at home by Porto in the Champions League. It was a painful and surprising defeat for the French champions and they need to bounce back immediately in the league.
A win against Montpellier would take them to the top of the table, until PSG play on Saturday. But Monaco need to play better than in midweek. Leonardo Jardim, as he often does after a European game, will rotate his starting eleven. Left back Jorge is suspended, while Adama Diakhaby is out injured. Thomas Lemar is not 100% and should be on the bench.
Youri Tielemans should start in midfield instead of Joao Moutinho, who was poor against Porto. Keita Baldé could start wide as well, despite not having played much in the last few weeks. Djibril Sidibé will switch from right back to left back to cover Jorge’s absence with Almany Touré coming in at right back.
Against Porto, Jardim made the wrong choices and Monaco will hope that these are the right ones. Radamel Falcao will lead the line again for Monaco. He has been fantastic so far this season and already has 11 goals in 7 matches.
Montpellier, on the other hand, managed to grab a point from PSG last weekend (0-0) at home after an excellent defensive performance. Manager Michel Der Zakarian will keep the same formation with five defenders and the same game plan as against PSG: defend deep and play on the counter attack. The visitors will be without Giovanni Sio, their striker, suspended but Casimir Ninga did well up front against PSG and his pace could be a problem for the Monaco defenders.
I think Montpellier will make it really hard for Monaco but that the home side will still get a narrow win.