Monaco managed to win last round only because of an offside goal scored by Berbatov. The offside was so obvious that only an ill intentioned referee could not see it.
But getting back to the actual game, Lyon held most of the possession but their lack of creativity along with Monaco’s somewhat stable defense led to Monaco winning 3-2 in the end.
Striker Berbatov made a good game (2 assists and 1 goal), but Rodriguez was once again Monaco’s best player. At the beginning of the season Rodriguez was isolated somewhere on the side with little chances of achieving full potential. It took a while for coach Ranieri to realize that Rodriguez needs full freedom to express himself and now we can see him all over the field, being decisive for Monaco almost every round.
Nowadays they concentrate mostly in the center and only fullbacks and forwards (and Rodriguez) are active on the wings. The Argentinian play-maker is the perfect link between compartments.
Defensively Monaco were not that solid last round, but maybe it was because defensive midfielder Toulalan was out suspended. He plays an important role for the defensive phase and his absence may have influenced the way they performed. Toulalan will return for this game.
Monaco will have to do without fullback Kurzawa who suffered an injury. He is a key player for Monaco’s game on the flank and his absence will surely be felt.
Opponents Lille had a discouraging performance last round against Nantes (finished 0-0). Besides a weird clearance by Lille’s forward Roux (that almost ended up to be an own goal) the game was very boring and rumor has it some spectators even asked for their money back.
Lille can hold possession with no problem but they fail when it comes to creating dangerous opportunities. Players realize this is a major weakness and instead doing something about it they lose temper and have ludicrous attempts from all kind of weird positions. Midfielder Balmont is undoubtedly the leader when it comes to unreasonable long distance shots.
Captain Mavuba suffered an injury and will miss this game.
Lille may opt for a different approach against Monaco, seeing that this game has a big importance to them (Champions League place). They may give up initiative in the attempt to surprise the opponent, or they may hold possession again but not even try to open up Monaco, as not to waste resources and stay fresh till the end. Knowing Lille, the second option appears to be more viable, and if Monaco will accept such a rythm we are in for the most boring game of round 30.
UPDATE: No surprises.
Monaco: Se.Romero, Subasic, Roma – R.Carvalho, Echiejile, Fabinho, Abidal, Isimat-Mirin, Raggi – Dirar, Kondogbia, Moutinho, Toulalan, Obbadi, Ocampos, J.Rodriguez, Pi, Ferreira-Carrasco – Germain, A.Martial, E.Rivière, Berbatov
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Sidibé, Kjaer, Basa, Béria, Rozehnal, Souaré – Balmont, Gueye, Martin, Delaplace, Meïté – Kalou, Rodelin, Roux, Origi, Ruiz, R.Mendes