Monaco v Strasbourg – Stade Louis II at 19:00 GMT live at BT Sport
New Monaco had coach Robert Moreno oversees his first Ligue 1 match against opposition that aren’t runaway table-toppers PSG on Saturday when Strasbourg arrive at the Stade Louis II. The principality club are seven points adrift of the Champions League qualification places and are desperate to get back on track.
Moreno was a happy man after seeing his side clinch a Coupe de France Last 16 berth with a dominant 3-1 win over minnows Saint-Pryvé-Saint-Hilaire in Orleans on Monday night and is already setting his sights high following home and away league fixtures against the league leaders where Monaco impressed.
In his Ligue 1 curtain-raiser at the Parc des Princes, the Spaniard shifted away from Leonardo Jardim’s favoured 3-5-2 formation, with the former Spain boss setting his team up in what was either 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, depending on whether one viewed Aleksandr Golovin as a No 10 or an advanced central midfielder.
The change of formation allowed Monaco to play more on the front foot and use the pace of Keita Balde and Gelson Martins on the flanks. The Portuguese winger was also liberated from the onerous task of tracking back, something that had undermined his performances as a wing-back, and the results were enlightening.
Les Rouges et Blancs earned an excellent 3-3 draw that night in Paris, only to succumb to the anticipated bounce back from the capital club days later, losing 4-1 at the Stade Louis II. Even so, there’s been enough positivity surrounding the coaching switch to suggest the hosts are in a position of strength for Saturday.
Monaco to overcome the Asian Handicap hurdle
Strasbourg are Monaco’s visitors this weekend and Le Racing have found their feet after a sloppy start to the campaign. Nevertheless, Thierry Laurey’s troops have build the foundations upon their mid-table position via their strong form at their Alsace base, often struggling for consistency when taking to the road.
The guests have been beaten in seven of their first 10 away trips this term, failing to even score on eight occasions. Such struggles are to be expected when Le Racing are generating just 0.49 Expected Goals (xG) from open play on average when outside Strasbourg, firing in only 5.20 shots from inside the penalty box.
In contrast, forward-thinking Monaco are a match for most in the French top-flight and the principality club have averaged 1.64 xG from open play at the Stade Louis II. A similarly strong offensive output on Saturday should ensure Les Rouges et Blancs overcome the -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle at kind 1.80 odds.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Monaco -0.75 at 1.800
Preview by: @MarkOHaire