FRENCH football expert Gary Clarke (@Gaz_Tips) shares this thoughts on Friday night's clash between champions Monaco and hosts Metz.
Metz v Monaco | Friday 18th August 2017, 19:45
Metz come into Week 2 on the back of two defeats and the last thing they need right now is reigning champions and free-scoring Monaco weighing in at the Stade Saint-Symphorien this Friday evening.
Lots of issues for Metz
Metz lost their opener at home to Guingamp; a terrible result for them that would have been one of the games they’d have targeted to take points from. Guingamp are normally terrible travellers and they turned Metz over rather easily.
Last weekend at Bordeaux was a tougher assignment; Metz hung in but Bordeaux were relatively comfortable in the win.
The hosts now come into this one with a few defensive issues; they've sold Simon Falette to Frankfurt and Milan Bisevac is a major doubt for the game – if he misses out, they are extremely short at the back.
Attack-wise, they’re just not firing and have registered a sole shot on-target last weekend. They've won the possession count both games but they just fail to move the ball quickly enough to get any forward penetration.
That’s probably a bit obvious considering they seem to be an old man’s club; Renaude Cohade, Yann Jouffre, Nolan Roux, Bisevac and Benoit Assou-Ekotto would have made them a decent squad a few years ago but not now they all look and play like pensioners.
Monaco continue bang them in
Les Monegasques have scored seven goals in their opening two games – quite impressive considering they had no Kylian Mbappe last weekend and they themselves are facing constant distractions.
The futures of Mbappe and Fabinho continue to dominate headlines and if they lose one – if not both – then they will have a majorly uphill struggle to compete for the title; it already looks hard enough with them.
As they showed last weekend they could potentially cope without Mbappe but Fabinho would be a major loss; without him they would have to play a different way or they would have to hope Youri Tielemens can do a similar job.
Last weekend’s win at Dijon was good but no doubt the scoreline was quite flattering – Dijon deserved better as they played quite well but Monaco and particularly Radamel Falcao were clinical.
The betting angle
Mbappe doesn't travel this weekend but with or without him Monaco are still too efficient for the sides in the lower reaches of Ligue 1. And with Metz’s defensive issues, it makes things even harder for them to try and keep the free-scoring Falcao et al out.
Last season Monaco hit Metz for five and seven and another comfortable win for the men from the principality seems on the cards. I’m taking Monaco -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 17/16 (188BET).
Metz v Monaco – Monaco – 1.5 Asian Handicap (17/16 188BET)