Monaco’s coach Jardim once again changed the defense last round. He let veteran Carvalho only on the bench and put Raggi in central defense alongside Abdennour.
Fabinho played instead of Raggi on the right flank and he was by far one of Monaco’s best players. But in central defense Abdennour is not accustomed with playing near Raggi and it seemed they were stepping on each other’s toes. Abdennour was very frustrated from the beginning and even scored an early own goal. Opponents Rennes netted again after 10 minutes and since Monaco are deficient at creating scoring opportunities the game ended at that point (Rennes won 2-0).
Since the right side with Fabinho and Dirar looked strong there is a good possibility that coach Jardim will once again prefer the same formula.
Hosts will welcome back midfielder Bakayoko after suspension but will miss once again fullback Kurzawa and midfielder Kondogbia.
The victory over Metz last round was one of the best games Lens made this season so far (won 2-0). The domination was constant for the entire 90 minutes and there was never the question of who will win the game.
Lens’ fullback Baal was the man of the match after initiating many actions on the left side and delivering an assist.
Guests will once again miss defender Landre but replacement Gbamin was surprisingly confident in interventions.
There is no doubt that Monaco will control this game but they are in poor form, low on confidence and creativity (especially since Kurzawa got injured). Monaco’s right flank with Fabinho and Dirar will once again be very active and offensive, but direct opponent Baal is in good form and so there are chances for Lens to speculate on counters. This encounter will be way more disputed than the odds suggests.
UPDATE: Guests will have to do without injured midfielder Chavarria.
Monaco: Stekelenburg, Subasic – Abdennour, R.Carvalho, Echiejile, Fabinho, Raggi, Wallace – Bahamboula, Bakayoko, Dirar, Ferreira Carrasco, Moutinho, Ocampos, Ber.Silva, Toulalan – Berbatov, Germain, A.Martial, L.Traoré
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ab.Ba, Baal, Cavaré, Gbamin, Kantari, Lecoeuche – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, El Jadeyaoui, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, B.Sylla, Valdivia – Ad.Coulibaly, Guillaume, Touzghar