Reims v Monaco – Stade Auguste-Delaune at 19:00 GMT+1
Monaco endured a miserable time of it last term. For the second successive summer the principality club saw their key assets pilfered and canny head coach Leonardo Jardim was unable to keep Les Monegasques on track. After being axed in October, Les Rouges et Blancs moved to bring in Thierry Henry to the hot-seat.
The Henry appointment was a mitigating disaster with Monaco dismissing him in January. Jardim was brought back barely 100 days after his departure to save the side from relegation. The Portuguese boss steadied the ship and kept heads above water, even though Monaco’s performance data promised much more.
Monaco presumed last season’s woes were behind them but the Stade Louis II club have continued to toil in 2019/20. Without a victory from their first five fixtures (W0-D2-L3) – conceding a league-high 14 goals – Les Monegasques are back in the bottom three and again apparently in crisis mode on the pitch.
Les Rouges et Blancs were in control last weekend, leaving regional rivals Marseille 2-1 before imploding. Jardim’s troops went down 4-2 in front of their home supporters, with the head coach bemoaning elementary errors and defensive mistakes, as well as the team’s organisational set-up at the back.
Monaco can be opposed
Monaco’s search for a first success of the season doesn’t get any easier on Saturday night as the Monte Carlo men make the tricky trip to Reims. The visitors have been given plenty of respect in the pre-match markets, and despite the talent available, I’m not sure Les Monegasques warrant such support yet.
Since the beginning of 2018/19, Monaco have tabled W8-D14-L21 in Ligue 1 outings, registering only eight clean sheets in those 43 encounters. Away from the Stade Louis II, Les Rouges et Blancs have bagged only four triumphs and shutout their hosts on only three occasions. That’s very concerning.
With Reims +0.25 on the Asian Handicap available at 1.70, I have to make the Champagne club my favourite fancy in France this weekend. Renowned for their robust and ultra-organised approach, David Guion’s men are masters in keeping contests tight and frustrating more illustrious opposition since promotion.
Only returning to this level at the beginning of last term, Reims have been exceptional at their atmospheric Stade Auguste Delaune base (W9-D8-L4) with the likes of PSG, Lille, Marseille, Lyon and Monaco all failing to depart with maximum points. And the home side have impressed again this season.
Exclude all-conquering champions PSG and no Ligue 1 side gives up as few goalscoring opportunities as Reims and I’m counting on the competitive hosts again proving too tough to breakdown for the underperforming guests.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Reims +0.25 at 1.700
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.,