Nice were simply destroyed at Lorient (3-0) last round. They had a shuffled defense with both central defenders Bodmer and Pejcinovic missing. Both of them are still doubtful at the moment of writing (about 24h before the game).
Regardless if Pejcinovic and Bodmer will return, Nice will still be without first choice keeper Ospina. Replacement Veronese proved to be unreliable even against average opponents.
Fullback Puel is suspended for this game, meaning Palun will most probably take his place. There was a time when Palun was a regular but he kept on making childish errors in every single round. He hasn’t played for a while so his form is more than questionable.
In case Bodmer and Pejcinovic won’t return fullback Kolodziejczak will have to continue in central defense. His place as a left back will be taken by young Amavi, another player prone to making mistakes as we could see last round.
There is also the possibility for coach Puel to push Bodmer or Pejcinovic to play, regardless if they are fully fit or not. This could have disastrous consequences for Nice, both on short term (the game against Monaco) and also long term.
Midfielder Bautheauc could also return after injury but nothing is certain yet.
Monaco’s performance last round was very impressive, especially since they were without key striker Falcao. Monaco also missed winger Carrasco but that turned out to be a good thing. With Carrasco out there was nobody to monopolize attention and push the game only on the left side (Carrasco is a left winger). This way winger / attacking midfielder Rodriguez was more active than usual and made a great game (was man of the match).
With Carrasco still out, Rodriguez will once again be able to achieve full potential. Falcao will also return from injury ready to convert everything coming from Rodriguez.
Central defender Abidal suffered an injury last round but according to latest reports he is fit for action.
Even if both Nice’s central defenders will return, the powerful and precise long distance shots of Rodriguez, Obbadi or Toulalan will give huge headaches to inexperienced keeper Veronese. If by any chance Veronese will clear a ball or two, Falcao will be there to exploit on the rebound.
Upfront Nice are softer than usual. Top scorer Cvitanich slowly and surely reduced rhythm and as a consequence Nice stopped scoring. Experienced Abidal and Carvalho should be able to deal with out-of-form Cvitanich.
At 1.81 odds on Monaco could have a been a bit higher…but we all know how greedy bookies are.
UPDATE: Falcao did not traveled with the group for Monaco. For Nice only Bodmer is back. The other central defender Pejcinovic is still out. Still Monaco to win