Matches 30 January 2021, 10:00

Focus on FC Nantes

Focus on FC Nantes
The Rouge et Blanc travel to play Nantes this Sunday evening at the Stade Beaujoire (9 p.m. behind closed doors), in their second away match in the second half of the Ligue 1 season. Here's a look at Raymond Domenech's team.

This is the last away trip of January for AS Monaco. After having recorded a fourth win in a row against Marseille (3-1), the Rouge et Blanc will head to play FC Nantes this Sunday at the Stade de la Beaujoire ((PM, behind closed doors) as part of Matchday 22 in Ligue 1. It’s a game with very different stakes for the two teams.

A change on the bench

And for good reason, as while AS Monaco have four consecutive wins, the last victory for Les Canaris dates back to November 8. At the time, it was Christian Gourcuff who was sitting on the FCN bench and who had beaten his former side, FC Lorient. Since then, many things have changed in Nantes, where Raymond Domenech has now succeeded him. The former coach of France, who has still not won a single match since his arrival on December 26, will therefore be keen to perform well against the top flight’s 4th-placed side.

A run of twelve matches without a win

With three draws and one defeat, his taking over the reins has so far not brought Nicolas Pallois and his teammates a win. The battle for survival is therefore the task for the seven-time champion of France, who narrowly fell in the reverse fixture at the Stade Louis-II (2-1), in the 1000th top flight win for AS Monaco. Currenlty, FC Nantes remain on 12 matches without having earned three points, the worst drought in the history of the club in the top flight.

With seven draws and five defeats, Nantes are no longer moving up the table, and have come dangerously close to the relegation playoff place currently occupied by Dijon ahead of Matchday 22. Symptomatic of their form, the Nantes attack has not been at its best, with only 20 goals scored in 21 games since the start of the season. In the last six matches, they have found the net only three times.

Beware of a renewed sense of pride

The defense has also struggled, conceding 34 goals since August. However, the players of Niko Kovac must be wary of a team who will be eager to regain their confidence and along with it, some points. In the reverse fixture, the Monégasques spent most of the match being frustrated by the opponents’ defense. It was Willem Geubbels who finally broke the deadlock at the end of the match, guiding his side to a 2-1 win.

In danger of the drop at the moment, Nantes will therefore be keen to come unstuck against AS Monaco, who are, of course, in great form. The Red and Whites have been warned, it will be necessary to be careful not to slip up in this match.

AS Monaco press conference extracts:

I've heard my players want even more, that they want to be at the top of the rankings. That's good. But we'll do things by working hard, not by talking. (...) We must keep our feet on the ground and continue to work with humility. We are following a process, it is important to work hard, there are still 17 matches and the season is still very long.
Niko KovacManager, AS Monaco

Read Niko Kovac‘s pre-match press conference.

The coach asks us to stay back to maintain numerical superiority in case of a counterattack. I communicate a lot with Guillermo, Axel, and Benoît to have five players in defense and the other five attacking. It's a different role but I relish it, it takes a lot of concentration. We have a good dynamic.
Djibril SidibéDefender, AS Monaco

Read Djibril Sidibé‘s pre-match press conference.

FC Nantes – AS Monaco by the numbers…

  • 96: Number of matches in Ligue 1 against Nantes, with 44 wins, 26 draws and 26 losses (139 goals scored, 111 conceded.
  • 48: Total number of matches at the Stade de la Beaujoire, with a record of 12 wins, 17 draws and 19 losses (46 goals scored, 57 conceded).
  • 4-1: On April 10, 1992, the Red and Whites recorded their biggest win in their history against Nantes. That day, Rui Barros and Youri Djorkaeff (hat trick) were the scorers.
  • 13: Monaco are unbeaten in 13 of their last 14 Ligue 1 matches against Nantes (12 wins, 1 draw).
  • 4: Monaco have scored three or more goals in their last four Ligue 1 games. The Rouge et Blanc could do this is five consecutive matches for the first time in their top flight history.
  • 3: Monaco have won three consecutive away matches in Ligue 1 (1-0 in Dijon, 5-2 against Lorient, 3-2 in Montpellier) and has the opportunity to win four in a row on the road in the top flight for the first time since 2017.
Rise. Risk. Repeat.