Monaco v Lyon – Stade Louis II at 20:00 Live at BT Sport

Monaco’s 2016/17 season will go down as a historic one for the principality club as they won the title with an attacking flair that few could have foreseen.

However, a number of leading lights were picked up by bigger European clubs in the summer, including starlet Kylian Mbappe, and there was an overriding feeling that Les Rouges et Blanc would be battling it out for a top-three finish rather than successfully defending their crown this term.

So when Leonardo Jardim’s charges demolished Marseille 6-1 in August, French football pundits raised their eyebrows once more. That stonking success was just one of six victories in Monaco’s opening seven Ligue 1 dates as Les Monegasques again put the pressure on big-spending favourites Paris St Germain.

Monaco stalling

Fast forward to February and Les Rouges et Blanc have arguably regressed to the mean. For the return match with Marseille on Sunday night, Monaco had fallen to fourth behind runaway league leaders PSG, Lyon and Marseille.

The French Riviera rivals shared four goals at the Stade Velodrome and now Jardim’s group are in danger of missing out on the Champions League altogether, having looked like title challengers in the opening weeks of the season.

Not only have they failed to cope with their losses in the transfer window but they have been surpassed by the chasing pack. Sure, Monaco are unbeaten in eight (W5-D3-L0) since November in league action but consecutive draws in their three tussles against top-half sides at the Stade Louis II has stalled progress.

The hosts have W9-D2-L1 at home this season, with the only loss coming against league leaders Paris St Germain but with star man Thomas Lemar absent, Les Monegasques appear vulnerable for Sunday night’s encounter with Lyon.

Lively Lyon

Lyon boasts the division’s best away record, succeeding in seven of their past eight games as guests. Les Gones headed to Bordeaux last weekend off the back of victories over both PSG and Monaco (in the cup) but Bruno Genesio’s group ran into a rejuvenated Les Girondins outfit.

With Gus Poyet at the reigns, Bordeaux’s steadfast and aggressive display saw them run into a 3-1 half-time advantage. It’s worth noting that two of their goals arrived from the penalty spot although Lyon struggled to find the answers in a frustrating performance.

Much more is expected of the second-placed side on Sunday and a play on goals looks our best avenue of attack considering the offensive talent on display.

The betting angle

Last season, Monaco’s matches averaged 3.63 goals-per-game as 31 of 38 featured at least three goals and half produced four or more goals. Those trends held regardless of the opposition as nine of their 10 matches against fellow top-six sides surpassed the Over 2.5 Goals line and six saw Over 3.5 Goals backers collect.

This term Les Rouges et Blanc have beaten the Over 2.5 Goals line in 15/23 (65%) outings with 12/23 (52%) breaking the three-goal barrier. Indeed, six of seven matches with the top-six have seen at least three goals scored with an average of 4.00 goals-per-game.

Lyon’s duels with top-six clubs have averaged 3.50 goals-per-game this term and with 16/23 (70%) overall encounters producing Over 2.5 Goals winners, 9/12 (75%) the following suit on their travels, plus 5/12 (42%) away days featuring four or more goals, backing Over 2.75 Goals is the preferred approach at 1.79.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 Goals 1.790

By @MarkOHaire

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