I expected Monaco to be inferior to Lille but never thought they were going to be so soft.
Upfront, pseudo stars like Falcao, Moutinho, Rodriguez or Carrasco could amount to nothing and barely created any real danger.
Nothing changed in Monaco’s tactics and approach, so everything written in previous previews still applies. Central midfielders Toulalan and Obbadi are forced (by offensive teammates’ inefficiency) to advance a lot. As a consequence defenders are left alone to deal with quick counters. A lot of tiredness also accumulated in Monaco’s defense.
Carvalho played most the games and last round it could be seen how this had an effect on his performance. He is not that young at 35 and at one point could barely lift his feet.
Abidal is fresher since he was injured for a couple of rounds, but even young fullback Kurzawa looks tired. The other fullback Fabinho is left on the bench against all odds. He could be useful to both the offensive and defensive phase, but coach Ranieri prefers his compatriot Raggi who is infinitely slower. In these conditions the job of scoring against Monaco is easier than one may think.
In the last 2 rounds Evian managed to win in the final moments. This only proves they are determined and their tactics allows them to preserve energy.
If at the beginning of the season Evian could only be dangerous on the flanks, now players are concentrated in the center. From there they spread the wings and attack the sides.
Top scorer Berigaud is still out injured, but this helped forward Sogou prove his abilities and gain form and teammates’ confidence.
Evian are comfortable giving up initiative and letting the opponent dominate moderately (like Toulouse did last round holding 55% possession). They just love this situations and still manage to create most chances ( 10 shots for Evian as opposed to 5 for Toulouse).
Once again this scenario will repeat, with Monaco pushing hard from the start trying to put an end to the bad run. Even if they score one, Monaco won’t stop pushing in the attempt to prove their value. But with their inefficiency upfront, central midfielders will once again have to get more involved than usual, leaving grandpas Abidal and Carvalho alone to deal with Evian’s in-form offense.
Both teams will be able to use the same players as last round. Only midfielder Cambon is suspended for Evian but he’s only a bench warmer anyway.
The price of 2.00 for Evian to score is just too high to be ignored. Medium stakes.