Prediction: Correct score – 1-1
AS Monaco will be aiming to get their first victory of the 2020/21 Ligue 1 campaign as they travel to Metz on Sunday.
Les Monégasques earned a point on their return to action last time time out so will hope to earn maximum points this time out as they tackle their first away match of the campaign.
Having finished 15th in Ligue 1 last season, comfortably away from the relegation zone, but nowhere near the European places, Metz boss Vincent Hognon will certainly hope for a more promising season this time around. Their conclusion to last campaign before it was cancelled should give them some optimism having won back-to-back matches again Nimes and Amiens. That was only the third time all season that they had managed to win consecutive league games. They also managed to carry that form into pre-season having had a packed schedule. Metz have managed to overcome the likes of RFC Seraing, Sporting Charleroi, Mechelen, Dijon and most recently defeated Strasbourg 3-2. The only negative was the 3-0 reverse at the hands of Belgian outfit Gent at the end of July. One intriguing trend that Metz appear to have developed is their inability to establish themselves in the top-flight of French football. In the last 20 seasons, they have suffered ten relegations or promotions, even falling down to the Championnat National as recently as 2012. If they manage to stave off relegation again this season, it will only be the second time since 2000 that they have managed to remain in Ligue 1 for three or more consecutive seasons.
Hognon has been busy ahead of the new campaign preparing his squad. Kevin N’Doram, Thierry Ambrose and Vincent Paroje, who all impressed on-loan last season have all signed permanent deals with the club. The club have also bought in centre-back Kiki Kouyate from Troyes, wideman Vagner from Saint Etienne and forward Warren Tchimbembe from Troyes to strengthen their squad. Meanwhile, Marc-Aurele Caillard has arrived on a free-transfer. Regarding injuries, the aforemented N’Doram is unfortunately restricted to the sidelines with a cruciate ligament injury, whilst Manuel Cabit is still out.
Whilst Metz will be desperate to improve upon their position of last season, Monaco will also be desperate to do exactly the same. The Principality club finished ninth in a turbulent season last time, with Leonardo Jardim and Roberto Moreno both taking the reins and leading them to a ninth-placed finish. In the time since, the Spaniard has departed the club, allowing former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac to take over. Unlike Metz, they have already begun their league season, securing a 2-2 draw against Reims. It looked like the club were set to begin the campaign in even worse form as goals from Boulaye Dia and El Bilal Toure put their opponents in control. However, strikes from Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile levelled matters, making it the first time that Monaco had come from at least two goals down to claim at least a draw since May 2019. Despite that comeback, the team still appear to have the same defensive problems that hampered them last season. Throughout 2019/20, only the bottom two, Amiens SC and Toulouse, and also Saint Etienne conceded more goals than Monaco.
The club haven’t been particularly busy in the transfer window this season. Only three players, Axel Disasi, Caio Henrique and Anthony Musaba have arrived for the 2016/17 Ligue 1 champions. In better news, there are only a couple of players out injured. Cesc Fabregas and Pietro Pellegri missed the opening game of the season and look unlikely to be available for the trip to Metz.
Key Facts To Consider
- Of the last ten Ligue 1 meetings between the two sides, Monaco have won eight, with Metz claiming just two victories
- In all competitions however, Metz have won the last two matches
- The victor in five out of the last six matches between the two has scored at least three goals
- AS Monaco have only won seven away league matches in the last two seasons combined
- Vincent Hognon has already won as many games against Monaco as a manager than he did as a player (two)
Considering Monaco have already begun competitive play this season, they could well be ahead of Metz in regards to fitness and preparation. However, should the same problems that plagued them throughout 2019/20 remain this weekend then the hosts should have an excellent chance of getting at least a point from the match. After all, Hognon’s men will be full of confidence, especially considering their wins against this weekend’s opponents last term. All of that could well produce another entertaining draw.
Prediction: Correct score – 1-1