It was a harsh defeat for Monaco last round (lost 2-0 at St Etienne), but in the end they haven’t really done anything exceptional (only shy attempts) to get at least 1 point.
They look very different nowadays in comparison to the beginning of the season. Back then they use to play in a 4-4-2 system with emphasis on the wings. Rodriguez and Carrasco / Ocampos where the ones stealing all the attention. Nowadays they concentrate only in the center, young Carrasco and Ocampos are only bench warmers, and Monaco lost speed and options.
Now they rely too much on Rodriguez for everything, as Moutinho doesn’t help too much, in-fact he is not that inspired since transferring-in. With Falcao still injured, sometimes the burden on play-maker Rodriguez can be overwhelming. When that happens Monaco are nothing special in the attacking phase, as despite having a decent level of quality, players don’t really excel in anything. Berbatov’s transfer was shouted from rooftops but he is only a bench warmer so far (most probably he is in a poor physical condition). Besides, the only plus he can bring is teaching teammates how to properly apply hair gel…
Monaco should welcome back central defender Abidal after injury, but he was in a poor form and many analysts actually thought some time off could help. Remains to be seen if that will happen.
Believe it or not 19th placed Sochaux was one of the most impressive teams in Ligue1 last round (won 2-0 against Bordeaux). Absolutely all players made great efforts, fought hard for every ball and were lucid in interventions.
Even striker Bakambu (whom I criticized a lot) made a good game, struggled hard, had attempts from all positions and scored in the end. Forward Jordan Ayew finally managed to score his first goal for Sochaux, so things looks quite good upfront.
Defensively they also improved, in-fact it may be the first time this season they actually were solid at the back. On the flanks there was simply no way to get past Marange or Faussurier. Central midfielders Malsa and Sinkala were omnipresent, making it impossible for opponents to create anything. It was a nice surprise especially since Malsa is only 18 and just began playing in the first team, and Sinkala just transferred-in this winter.
The momentum definitely belongs to Sochaux, there shouldn’t be any doubt about that. Relying only on Rodriguez Monaco aren’t able to trash Sochaux, on the contrary, we may see a surprise. Sochaux +1.5 at 2.17
UPDTAE: Monaco are still without central defender Abidal. Sochuax will welcome back Kante and Poujol, but most probably both of them will start only on the bench.
Monaco: Romero, Subasic, Roma – R.Carvalho, Echiejile, Fabinho, Isimat-Mirin, Kurzawa, Raggi – Dirar, Ferreira Carrasco, Kondogbia, Moutinho, Obbadi, Ocampos, J.Rodriguez, Toulalan – Germain, A.Martial, E.Rivière, Berbatov
Sochaux: Cros, Y.Pelé – Faussurier, Carlão, Sunzu, L.Zouma, Marange, Corchia, C.Kanté – Ilaimaharitra, Roudet, Doubaï, Contout, Sinkala, Malsa, Prcic, Poujol – Bakambu, Mayuka, J.Ayew, Butin