Soccer France Ligue 1 Prediction
Monaco vs Strasbourg - Match Preview
⚽ 2 April 2023 - 15:05 GMT +0
Following an unwanted three-league game winless run (D1, L2), Monaco kept their Champions League qualification ambitions alive with a 2-0 win at strugglers AC Ajaccio before the international break. That made it 13 more points on the board than what they had at this stage of last season, yet they came into the round sitting in fourth place, three points behind Lens and one position lower than where they finished in each of the last two campaigns.
Despite not being guaranteed an improvement in terms of league placing this season, Monaco Sporting Director Paul Mitchell announced over the break that he was to leave the club at the end of the season, commenting that he felt he had “completed his mission”. However, one of the players he helped to bring in, forward Breel Embolo - who has scored 12 Ligue 1 goals - is set to face an extended spell on the sidelines with a knee injury picked up in his last appearance.
That will hand visitors Strasbourg some belief they can extend what’s been a solid run of results at Monaco in recent seasons, having lost just one of their last four away H2Hs (W2, D1). More recently, they are on course to extend their longest winless away run of the campaign if they fall short here, just as they have in each of their last four road trips (D2, L2).
Despite that, there have been positive signs under new manager Frédéric Antonetti since his appointment in mid-February. Under Antonetti, Strasbourg has lost just one Ligue 1 game (W2, D2), a period that has subsequently helped them climb out of the bottom four to go three points clear of the relegation zone coming into this weekend’s action.
📋 Key battle: Monaco’s Ligue 1 defensive record is mid-ranking so far this season (GA: 37), but it could have been much worse if it hadn’t been for goalkeeper Alexander Nübel who had made the most Ligue 1 saves (100) of the season at the end of the previous game week. Facing him here is target man Habib Diallo who scored for Strasbourg last time out as well as for Senegal during the break. He’s also remarkably won more aerial duels (89) than any other Ligue 1 player coming into the round.
⚡ Hot stat: Only one Ligue 1 side had scored more first-half goals than Monaco (28) ahead of this round.
Paris SG vs Lyon - Match Preview
⚽ 2 April 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
With a comfortable lead atop Ligue 1, PSG looks good value to claim their fifth top-flight crown from the last six seasons. Securing that feat will also see them acquire a slice of history as it would be their 11th Ligue 1 title, giving them the outright most in history, but for now, they must concentrate on simply cementing top-spot which starts with the visit of Lyon.
Just one defeat in their last 14 Ligue 1 home outings against Lyon (W11, D2) suggests PSG should have no trouble in at least maintaining their lead to second place. The Parisians did, however, lose 2-0 to Rennes at the Parc des Princes before the international break, with that loss serving as one of four league defeats suffered in 2023 already, more than in the whole of 2022 combined as PSG continues to show some vulnerability.
Seven-time Ligue 1 Champions themselves, Lyon perhaps doesn’t offer the sizable challenge they once did as they currently languish around mid-table. They have managed to piece together a four-match unbeaten league run (W1, D3) in a bid to make a late surge up the table, but with the European places realistically out of reach, Lyon is simply jostling for position.
There is still one way into Europe for Lyon though, and that’s via the Coupe de France, with a semi-final clash against Nantes to come on Wednesday which could perhaps see squad rotation come into play here. That seems unlikely though, especially considering Lyon’s 1-1 league draw against their upcoming semi-final opponents before the break left boss Laurent Blanc feeling “disappointed”, so his players are likely playing for a place in Wednesday’s mammoth game.
📋 Players to watch: In line to make his 50th Ligue 1 appearance, PSG’s Lionel Messi opened the scoring after just five minutes in the reverse, one of his six goals in eight personal H2Hs against Lyon (W5, D3). Alexandre Lacazette became Lyon’s second-highest goalscorer with his recent strike against Nantes, which was his fifth scoring league appearance from his last six to see him net the game’s last goal.
⚡ Hot stat: Ahead of the round, Lyon has scored the most away goals in Ligue 1 following the World Cup restart (16).
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