This is a great period for Monaco as they’ve managed to qualify for the European spring, not only that, they even topped their group.
In Ligue1 Monaco also bounced back after a couple of unconvincing results and now they sit in the upper half of the table.
The performance is even more praiseworthy as Monaco nowadays have some problems with injuries, especially in the defensive department. Important fullback Kurzawa is out injured just like possible replacement Echiejile. Central defender Carvalho is also sidelined and it’s a miracle how Monaco kept it tight at the back when replacement Wallace was suspended. But just like a paradox Monaco seem to have improved defensively, maybe because players are more careful when doing the defensive phase and the support from midfielders is constant and always in time.
Against Zenit (Monaco won 2-0) right fullback Fabinho was by far Monaco’s best player. He took part in many offensive actions and even managed to score.
Besides defenders Kurzawa, Echiejile and Carvalho hosts will also miss striker Berbatov who suffered an injury in the midweek against Zenit.
Marseille had an easy game last round against Metz and dominated from beginning till end. They still haven’t managed to solve the problems that arise when defending the flanks. Fullbacks DjaDjedje and Mendy advance a lot and are often caught on the wrong foot. It happened again last round when even Metz (poorest away from home record) could find the net.
Young fullback Mendy will have huge headaches this round against Monaco’s fullback Fabinho who is in tremendous form and often attempts to penetrate in opponents’ penalty box.
There are good chances that Marseille will be the ones controlling the game and constantly push it forward. But Monaco proved so far they have excellent power of endurance and can hit decisively on counters, even with Berbatov out injured (both of Monaco’s goals against Zenit were scored after Berbatov left the field). Balanced game ahead and the ones making the first mistake will most likely end up losing the game.
UPDATE: Monaco will once again have a decimated defense as they will miss Carvalho, Kurzawa, Ejechiele and Wallace.
Monaco: Subasic, Stekelenburg – Abdennour, Ab.Diallo, Fabinho, B.Lopez, Raggi – Bakayoko, Bahamboula, Dirar, Ferreira Carrasco, Moutinho, Ocampos, Ber.Silva, Ab.Thiam, Toulalan –Germain, A.Martial, L.Traoré
Marseille: S.Mandanda, B.Samba – Aloé, B.Dja Djedje, Nkoulou, Fanni, Ben.Mendy, J.Morel – Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Thauvin – Batshuayi, Gignac, Boutobba, A.Ayew, Omrani, Payet