PSG are the side more under pressure in what is Ligue 1’s biggest game of the season so far. This is a clash between the two Ligue 1 title favourites and champions PSG need the points more, as they are trailing Monaco by 3pts going into the game. The hosts can draw confidence from the fact they’ve started 2017 in excellent form. PSG have won 5/5 matches in all competitions, scoring 16 times and conceding just once. They’re below-strength in midfield, however, as midfielder Verratti has been ruled out. No. 1 right-back Aurier is also missing, so Meunier will continue to deputise. This is a minor weakness. An attacking approach is likely. PSG will look to control the game rather than playing cat-and-mouse with Monaco. The hosts will be acutely aware of Monaco’s remarkable attacking potential (Monaco have scored 64 times in 21 Ligue 1 games) but will try to set the rhythm and tempo and prevent Monaco from getting into the match. PSG should have an extra man in midfield. They’ll try to make that count. Their build-up tends to be a little more patient than Monaco’s. They’ll attempt to outnumber Monaco in midfield and work the ball forward from there. If PSG go a goal ahead, they may play on the counter-attack more. But they won’t simply sit back on a one-goal lead: they will make genuine attempts to add further goals as that’s the way they play.
Monaco go into this game sitting on top of the Ligue 1 table and in tremendous form. They’ve won five and drawn one of their last six matches and have a sensational scoring record of more than three goals a game in Ligue 1 this season. As a result, it’s surprising to see they’re such big underdogs for this early title decider. They’ve played as well if not better than PSG all season and will be confident they can collect at least 1pt. The visitors’ team news is excellent. Influential midfielder Fabinho is a minor doubt but should be fit to start. In all other positions Monaco are at full strength. They’re expected to line-up in their usual 4-4-2 formation. A balanced approach is likely. Monaco will be aware that, as the home side, PSG will attack. For that reason they’ll try to keep a good defensive shape and frustrate PSG when PSG have the ball. Monaco are 3pts above PSG in the standings. The visitors would take a draw as they’d be happy to come away from this fixture maintaining their 3pts advantage. Given Monaco’s enormous attacking potential, however, it’s unthinkable they would sit back and purely defend for 90 minutes. They’ve scored 64 goals in 21 Ligue 1 fixtures. They’ll try to unleash their vast attacking power as often as they can without taking undue risks. Look out for Monaco breaking quickly on the flanks when they win the ball back. Playing with two strikers, they should also have good numbers in the box.
Verdict & Prediction
Monaco will be 100% motivated for what’s arguably the biggest and most important Ligue 1 match of the season so far. They and opponents PSG are the Ligue 1 title favourites so this match could go a long way towards deciding who claims the trophy. Monaco arrive in fantastic form so will be confident while at the same time being respectful of the quality of their opponents.
Prediction: Monaco +1.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.92 Pinnacle