Nathan Staples previews Monaco’s final home encounter of their Europa League group stage adventure, with qualification for the next round very much in their sight.
As we head into the fifth round of games in the Europa League, AS Monaco now know that a win will guarantee them qualification to the next round along with Tottenham Hotspur.
A disappointing draw in Baku last time out means a victory at home against Anderlecht will do, although they need to be fully aware that the Belgians that any result at the Stade Louis II will give them a fighting chance of displacing the Ligue 1 side in the knockout stages.
Fabinho returns after missing the win against Nantes at the weekend through suspension and while there are no new injury worries, the likes of Nabil Dirar, Thomas Lemar, Ivan Cavaleiro and Adama Traore are all out of tonight’s fixture. Helder Costa will also be unavailable as he has not been registered to play in European competitions and Tiemoue Bakayoko is a doubt but is in the squad.
Leonardo Jardim stressed the importance of this game in his press conference as not only being able to help Monaco progress but also help Ligue 1’s European coefficient.
He told reporters: “his is a very important game for us. We can qualify tomorrow. It is also an important game for giving points to France in the UEFA index.
“Anderlecht are a very good team with a great history. We respect them. The two teams will play tomorrow with the same ambition. There is no favourite.
Anderlecht are missing Aaron Leya Iseka, Mahmoud Hassan and Ivan Obradovic but will be delighted to have Dennis Praet back available after he missed a few weeks of action. The club sit in fourth place in the Belgian Pro League, four points off Lyon conquerors Gent.
The Belgian side will have no travelling support for the game, as agreed by both clubs and UEFA, after the events of two weeks ago in Paris.
Mario Pasalic (Monaco) – The Croatian midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, has had a knack of finding himself at the right place at the right time this season. He’s scored a few important goals this season, including the winner at the weekend and that extra source of goals from midfield is really propelling the side forward as they search for a permanent resolution to their forward issues.
With a win in their sights, expect Pasalic to make those late runs into the box to support the attacking players as they look to score early and put real pressure on Anderlecht to react.
Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht) – The versatile player who was on loan at Bastia last season has really shone for the Belgians so far in the Europa League. Playing in a variety of roles, from centre midfield to right-back to on the wing, the Frenchman is the club’s top scorer in the competition and has already grabbed one goal against Monaco this season.
Expect him to play in the more defensive role, as he has in both games against Tottenham, but that did not stop him scoring from a corner routine. The principality club have to limit how much he is allowed to support their attacking play and not fall asleep while he sneaks around the back like he did at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Monaco are picking up a head of steam now, despite their injuries, and they will want to get this result out of the way as soon as they can. Jardim’s side can ill afford having to get a result against Spurs at White Hart Lane, who are playing fantastic football with any starting line-up, and especially as the Belgians would face Qarabag at home.
Look for them to control proceedings as Anderlecht look to get some hope on the counter. They need to score as soon as they can to ease the pressure as a draw will keep the opposition in the hunt going into matchday six but Monaco have enough quality to see this one through.
Result: Monaco 2-0 Anderlecht