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Dec 1, 2021 at 6pm UK
Nubel (55' og.)
Mangani (42')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Boadu (25'), Diop (45'), Disasi (73')
Sidibe (10'), Volland (42')

Preview: Angers vs. Monaco - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Angers vs. Monaco - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Ligue 1 clash between Angers and Monaco, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two surprise stories for different reasons will face each other on Wednesday to kick off the final month of 2021 in Ligue 1 as Angers host Monaco at Stade Raymond Kopa.

The small club based in Western France are off to an excellent start, currently in sixth in the table and unbeaten in their last three games, while Les Monegasques have struggled domestically, going winless in four straight contests, presently sitting in ninth.

Match preview

Gerald Baticle could not have asked for a better beginning to his inaugural campaign as the manager for Les Scoistes, sitting in the top six and only three points behind Lens for a place in the Europa Conference League qualifiers next season.

The former striker knows a thing or two about being involved with small clubs and accomplishing big things, as he was a member of the AJ Auxerre team under Guy Roux, who rose to prominence in the 90s, and he was their top goalscorer in the UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League) in the 1992-93 campaign, while he also helped his side capture the Coupe de France in 1994.

So far through 15 games, what stands out from this team is how well they are positionally on the field, often able to move into the right areas to cover space while defending and finding pockets of space in transition.

They come into this midweek encounter having won only one of their previous 10 fixtures versus Les Rouges-et-Blancs, their longest such streak against them in the top flight, and they have struggled to find the back of the net when they face them as well, with their last goal against Monaco in Ligue 1 coming courtesy of Flavien Tait, who is now with Rennes.

Angers have only come away empty-handed three times in league play this season, which ties their record for fewest defeats at this stage of a campaign alongside the team of 2015-16 and the one who featured for them in 1960-61.

Following their 2-2 draw with Lens over the weekend, Les SCO have only failed to score once so far in Ligue 1, having found the back of the net now in 17 of their previous 18 league matches dating back to the 2020-21 campaign.

The second season in charge of Monaco has not gone as smoothly as the first one did for Niko Kovac, as his team are currently 20 points behind the leaders PSG in the standings.

In 2020-21, Les Monegasques were right in the thick of the title chase until the very end, coming in third, but they are in poor form domestically at the moment, currently on their longest run without a victory since January-February of 2020, when they also failed to win four in a row.

Since joining the club from Bayern Munich, their Croatian manager has implemented a clear identity for this team, focusing on some solid positional play in all game phases while playing out from the back and usually maintaining a compact defensive block without the ball.

His side have employed those tactics exceptionally well in the Europa League, having gone unbeaten in their group and already assured of a spot in the knockout stage of that competition, following their 2-1 win over Real Sociedad in their previous encounter.

However, their execution has been poor in Ligue 1, having scored the seventh-fewest amount of goals so far, finding the back of the net 20 times through their opening 15 matches after scoring the third-most goals domestically last season.

They are used to seeing a lot of the ball, averaging the second-highest percentage of possession thus far (58.79%) behind only PSG, but they seem to be a lot more passive in the final third than they need to be, having strung together the second-most passes in Ligue 1 so far, with over 8000 coming into this contest.

Angers Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D

Monaco Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D

Monaco form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D

Team News

Sofiane Boufal tallied for the fourth time this season for Angers to move into a tie for the team lead with Thomas Mangani, while Romain Thomas notched the equaliser versus Lens this weekend, his second of the campaign.

Jimmy Cabot has been a solid playmaker for them with four assists to lead his team in that department, putting him in the top 10 in Ligue 1 in that category, while goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni had a pair of rough outings versus Monaco last year, conceding four goals total in both league games against them on seven shots.

Danijel Petkovic has started the last three matches in goal for Angers instead of Bernardoni, while Angelo Fulgini was the only other change to their starting 11 versus Lens from their previous game as he took the place of Pierrick Capelle in midfield.

Midfielder Aleksandr Golovin earned some high praise from his coach this weekend, with Kovac calling him the Lionel Messi of this team because of his intelligence and creativity, although injuries have hampered him throughout the year, collecting only one assist in the 2021-22 domestic campaign so far after he led the team with nine last season.

Cesc Fabregas has a hamstring injury, Krepin Diatta suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in their draw with Lille, Jean Marcelin is out with a torn muscle fibre and Kevin Volland, who has three goals and three assists for them so far this year, will miss this game because of a yellow card suspension.

Wissam Ben Yedder has scored in back-to-back games for his side and is tied for third in goals this season with eight thus far, one behind Gaetan Laborde for second and two back of Lille striker Jonathan David for first.

Angers possible starting lineup:
Petkovic; Thomas, Traore, Manceau; Capelle, Fulgini, Mangani, Ounahi, Cabot; Bahoken, Boufal

Monaco possible starting lineup:
Nubel; Aguilar, Disasi, Maripan, Jakobs; Fofana, Tchouameni; Golovin, Martins, Diop; Ben Yedder

We say: Angers 0-1 Monaco

Angers have lost three straight games against Monaco and have not beaten them since January 2016, and as good as they have been so far in this campaign, there are still moments where they allow too much space in their third of the field like they did against Lens over the weekend.

Monaco should have plenty of possession in this one, and they can afford to put a stronger side together for these league contests for a little while, with a spot in the next phase of the Europa League already guaranteed.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:curl

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