MX23RW : Saturday, April 17 12:10:35| >> :60:2624:2624:
Feb 14, 2021 at 12pm UK at Stade Louis II
MonacoMonaco
2-2
LorientLorient
Ben Yedder (48' pen., 90+3')
Lecomte (6'), Diop (39'), Tchouameni (45')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Moffi (7' pen., 62')
Mendes (35'), Dreyer (88'), Chalobah (90+1')

Preview: Monaco vs. Lorient - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Monaco and Lorient, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two sides in excellent form but separated by 26 points in the Ligue 1 table will do battle at the Stade Louis II on Sunday lunchtime as Monaco take on Lorient.

Both sides go into this game having advanced to the next round of the Coupe de France in midweek, with the hosts overcoming Grenoble Foot 38 and Lorient sinking Paris FC.


Match preview

Monaco manager Niko Kovac pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Manchester City's record-breaking winning run is grabbing all the headlines, but Monaco could very well match their English counterparts if their ruthless streak continues over the coming weeks.

A narrow 1-0 triumph in the cup against Grenoble, during which Stevan Jovetic scored the game's only goal, represented their eighth win on the bounce in all competitions - the longest streak out of any team in the French top flight - and their title charge is seriously gathering pace.

Despite having played a game more than fifth-placed Rennes, fourth-placed Monaco boast a seemingly-unassailable 10-point lead over their European rivals, and they are only six points off top spot amid their remarkable winning run, with current champions Paris Saint-Germain - who sit third - now within touching distance.

Niko Kovac's in-form charges have found the back of the net at least twice in their last eight top-flight matches, with the 50 goals they have already notched up only bettered by PSG, but a leaky defence could spell trouble for Les Monegasques, who have also kept just one clean sheet in their last eight in the league.

A six-pointer with PSG on February 21 follows the visit of Lorient for Monaco, so any slip-up this weekend for Kovac's side could seriously harm their title prospects, and the resurgent visitors are certainly not to be taken lightly.

Lorient manager Christophe Pelissier pictured in December 2020© Reuters

No team want to become the next victims of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak, but Lorient appear to have used that time off to their advantage amid an unforeseen turnaround in fortunes.

January's victories over Dijon and PSG represented the start of Les Merlus' revival, with Christophe Pelissier witnessing his side win four of their last five in all competitions - including a 2-1 success over Paris in the Coupe de France.

A much-changed Lorient side did not have it all their own way against the Ligue 2 outfit, though, and Pelissier had to rely on substitutes Yoane Wissa and Terem Moffi - the latter notching up his sixth goal in eight matches - to bail his side out of trouble in midweek.

As far as Lorient's Ligue 1 fortunes are concerned, 10 points taken from a possible 12 has propelled them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Nantes, and with Les Merlus boasting a three-point cushion and a game in hand over their relegation rivals, there is plenty of cause for optimism if their current form continues.

Picking up another three points at the Stade Louis II will be a monumental ask, however, as Monaco crushed Lorient 5-2 earlier in the campaign and have found the back of the net in their last 17 league matches against their opponents, who have only won once away from home all season.

Monaco Ligue 1 form: WWWWWW
Monaco form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Lorient Ligue 1 form: LLWWDW
Lorient form (all competitions): LWWDWW


Team News

AS Monaco's Guillermo Maripan celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana sat out the victory over Grenoble due to suspension but will return here alongside Aurelien Tchouameni, meaning that Cesc Fabregas and Eliot Matazo are likely to make way.

Kovac, as expected, rested several of his big-name stars for the cup match, and the likes of Benoit Badiashile, Kevin Volland and Djibril Sidibe will all return after being left at home in midweek.

Aleksandr Golovin - who scored a hat-trick in last weekend's thrilling 4-3 win at Nimes - will also return to the fold, while Benjamin Lecomte, Caio Henrique, Guillermo Maripan and Wissam Ben Yedder should complete 10 changes for the hosts.

Lorient duo Paul Nardi and Vincent Le Goff are the last to recover from COVID-19 infection, but both players are expected to return to action within the next couple of weeks.

Wissa and Moffi will certainly return to the starting lineup after propelling Lorient to victory in midweek, and as is the case with Monaco, Lorient are set to ring the changes from their Coupe de France triumph.

Matthieu Dreyer, Thomas Monconduit, Laurent Abergel and Enzo Le Fee - the latter of whom is back from suspension - will all hope to make their returns to the first XI for the trip to Monaco.

Monaco possible starting lineup:
Lecomte; Sidibe, Maripan, Badiashile, Henrique; Golovin, Fofana, Tchouameni, Diop; Ben Yedder, Volland

Lorient possible starting lineup:
Dreyer; Mendes, Laporte, Gravillon, Morel, Hergault; Lauriente, Monconduit, Abergel, Wissa; Moffi


SM words green background

We say: Monaco 3-1 Lorient

Lorient will be fully aware of Monaco's leaky defence - which is there to be breached - and the 17th-placed visitors are certainly capable of pulling off a shock result this weekend. However, Monaco are crushing everything in their wake and will be desperate to keep the pressure on PSG before they meet the champions next weekend, so we are expecting a ninth win on the trot for Kovac's side.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Paris Saint-Germain PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino pictured on January 9, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG32213871234866
3MonacoMonaco32205767382965
4Lyon321810463313264
5Lens32141085144752
6Rennes33149104235751
7Marseille32131094339449
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Nice32127134142-143
10Metz32119123638-242
11Angers33118143449-1541
12Reims32913103838040
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne32109133647-1139
14StrasbourgStrasbourg32106164150-936
15Bordeaux32106163545-1036
16Brest32106164455-1136
17Lorient3288163858-2032
18Nimes3286183159-2830
19NantesNantes32513143249-1728
20Dijon3229212056-3615

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