Lyon vs Monaco: Battle for Champions League is on

 

lyon-monaco
JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images

More than just three points will be at stake when Lyon welcome Monaco to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais for a penultimate Ligue 1 clash on Saturday afternoon.

As we all know, PSG ran away with the Ligue 1 title and this race was decided a long time ago. For Les Parisiens fans, that was a good thing. For football “purists” and supporters of other teams, it was a huge disappointment, especially if they were hoping to see a closely contested affair this season. In any case, if one takes PSG out of the equation, the Ligue 1 table looks quite similar to the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, or La Liga, to some extent.

Both Lyon and Monaco will be coming into this game level on 62 points. However, Les Gones, thanks to a superior goal differential sit in second, whilst Les Rouges et Blancs occupy third. As only the top two Ligue 1 sides gain automatic entry into the Champions League, the next two games will be very decisive. PSG, of course, already have taken one spot, so there is only one berth left up for grabs. Meanwhile, Saint-Etienne are hovering just four points behind Lyon and Monaco in fourth and are eagerly waiting to close the gap on whoever ends up on the losing end.

In the reverse fixture earlier this season, both sides ended up having to share the spoils as they played to a one-all draw. Hosts Lyon will be coming into this match in an impressive vein of form. Bruno Genesio’s side have won four out of their past five fixtures and are unbeaten in their last nine, including a hard fought 2-1 win over Ajaccio in the last round. In terms of personnel, they will have to make do without the services of Steed Malbranque, Corentin Tolisso, Gueida Fofana as a result of injury, but Mathieu Valbuena should be fine to feature in some capacity.

Meanwhile, Monaco have also been pretty solid as of late. Leonardo Jardim’s troops also come into this game having won their most recent fixture: a 3-2 home clash against Guingamp. The cash-rich, ambitious side also have managed to bounce back from two back-to-back losses by winning two and drawing one of their past trio of Ligue 1 matches. The visitors will be missing quite a few key players as a result of suspension and injuries. Fabinho sits out due to a ban. Both Almamy Touré and Fábio Coentrão are unavailable for this game due to injury problems, and Joao Moutinho and Jérémy Toulalan will have to pass a late fitness test to determine if they can feature.

MORE: You can watch Lyon vs Monaco live with FuboTV 24-hour game pass FREE.

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.