Angers v Monaco – Ligue One
Angers motivation is in question heading into the game. Safe from relegation but too far behind the leading pack to have any realistic prospect of challenging for a European place, they seem destined to finish in mid-table and that may encourage their players to ease off. Facing Ligue 1 leaders Monaco in front of a big crowd should motivate the players to some extent. But there are obvious concerns about Angers attitude given that nothing of any real importance is at stake as regards league position. Angers play in the French Cup semi-finals on April 25 and that competition may have already become their priority. The hosts have very good team news. No automatic starters are missing so manager Stephane Moulin will be delighted. He has useful options should he wish to rotate following their 2-1 French Cup quarter-final win over Bordeaux on Wednesday night.
This game will be a test of character for Monaco after their 4-1 thrashing by PSG in the League Cup final last weekend. Monaco were totally outplayed on the night so their confidence may be affected heading into this match. They bounced back with a 2-1 win over Lille in the French Cup on Tuesday night. But it was a moderate performance against opponents that rotated heavily and had a man sent off. This game should offer a more accurate guide as to whether Monaco have got over their defeat to PSG last weekend. Monaco’s Tuesday night Champions League quarter-final first leg against Borussia Dortmund is another issue for the players to contend with. They may be distracted by the prospect of that high-profile fixture the e and take their eyes off the ball here. Monaco have named a full-strength squad but rotation is possible in order to save players for the Dortmund trip.
Verdict & Prediction
The mood in the Monaco camp should be focused and determined although they may be starting to feel the pressure of competing on several fronts. Monaco may still be licking their wounds after their 4-1 League Cup final defeat to PSG last weekend. That was a bitter blow and sent a clear message to Monaco about how dangerous their nearest rivals in the Ligue 1 title race can be. Monaco bounced back to a degree with a 2-1 French Cup quarter-final win over Lille on Wednesday night. But there’s obvious pressure going into this game with PSG only 3pts behind them in the standings. This game will tell us more about whether Monaco have recovered properly from their thrashing at the hands of PSG last weekend and how their young side is coping with the situation of being in the box seat heading into the season run-in. Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Borussia Dortmund will also be a distraction. That’s a massive fixture for Monaco and it would be natural for the players’ thoughts to have already turned towards the game.
Prediction: Monaco -0.75 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.83 Pinnacle