Title hopefuls Monaco target perfect Ligue 1 start in Lille clash
Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco kicked off their Ligue 1 campaign successfully with a 2-1 away triumph over Nice, but will want to make a bright start in their first clash at the Stade Louis II as they welcome Lille to their home patch.
The hosts have a dominant record over their next domestic opponents on home soil, with Lille having failed to secure victory at the daunting venue since 2009, making Monaco massive odds-on 4/7 favourites with Coral and 7/2 to win both halves.
Herve Renard’s travelling side were narrowly toppled 1-0 in their season opener against reigning champions PSG, and the visitors, who finished in eighth last term, are 5/1 to cause an upset on the road.
For Monaco, the immediate aim is to make a much brighter start to the new campaign than they did in the previous season. Twelve months ago the club stutteringly collected just four points from a possible 15 in their opening games, shocking early form which ultimately derailed any title ambitions.
In order to properly challenge Laurent Blanc’s dominant capital club this season, Jardim knows his men must continue to improve and avoid any early set-backs, beginning with their Lille liaison on home turf.
The superiority shown by Monaco at the Stade Louis II last season is a great platform on which to build upon for this term, having only tasted defeat in front of their own fans just twice, but were also held to nine draws.
Another stalemate this time out can be had at 11/4, though the hosts possess plenty of attacking threat capable of repeating their heroics last season when they overcame their counterparts at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Dimitar Berbatov struck the decisive goal in that 1-0 win last term but, with the Bulgarian having moved on, new signing Stephan El Shaarawy will be the new key danger in Monaco’s ranks.
The Italy international, signed from AC Milan this summer, is 5/1 to open proceedings in his maiden home league game in new colours, while fellow forward Lacina Traore is 19/10 to net anytime.
Gadji Tallo could be a threat to Monaco’s supreme home form, with the Ivory Coast international attacker 3/1 to get on the scoresheet anytime.
Lille have the capabilities to cause Monaco problems, just like they did to the champions in their campaign opener, but the hosts are determined to make a much more positive start this term in order to contest PSG for the French title.
Betting tip: Stephan El Shaarawy to score first @ 5/1