With one French side eliminated from the Champions League, all of Ligue 1’s hopes rest on the shoulders of AS Monaco as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Italian champions Juventus.
The principality club come into this one on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Rennes at the weekend but they remain in the final Champions League spot in Ligue 1. If they are to qualify, they’ll have to improve their lousy goalscoring record at the Stade Louis II in Europe this season, they’ve scored only three goals in four games.
The Bianconeri beat Lazio 2-0 at the weekend and even got to rest a few players in the process. They are on the brink of a fourth Scudetto in a row but will be confident that they can either hold their lead from the first leg or have the strength in attack to hurt one of the best defences in the competition.
Team News and Tactics
Monaco will be without Lacina Traore and Tiemoue Bakayoko and there are doubts over the fitness of Jeremy Toulalan (hamstring) and Geoffrey Kondogbia (ankle). Both midfield anchors would be a huge miss should they not be available but expect Leonardo Jardim to go with an attacking line-up that will feature both Dimitar Berbatov and Anthony Martial.
Paul Pogba and Martin Caceres are the only absentees for Juventus, who’ll look to use the same 3-5-2 formation that proved so successful against Lazio at the weekend. Arturo Vidal is a doubt with tonsillitis which could mean another start for Roberto Pereyra should the Chilean miss the clash.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Monaco) – The Belgian winger has numerous admirers and rightly so, the 21-year-old has shown flashes of real quality as his influence on this Monaco side begins to grow. Whilst he still needs to improve on his final product, his pace and his ablility to find space in behind the defence will give the Juventus defence nightmares.
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)- Like a fine wine, the mercurial Andrea Pirlo has only got better with age. The 35-year-old has vision very few posses, he’s a real danger at set-pieces and if you allow him to, he can completely dictate a game. If he’s not marshalled properly, Pirlo will make sure this game only goes Juventus’ way.
In the end, Monaco will be a little disappointed they couldn’t take anything from the first leg. It’s not an impossible task to turn this one around but with their poor goalscoring record combined with Juventus’ stubborn defence, it’s hard to see them winning this one. They might nick a goal late on but I can’t see them keeping the likes of Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata and Andrea Pirlo quiet for 90 minutes.
Prediction: Monaco 1-1 Juventus