Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash between Nice and Monaco, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Les Aiglons are now eight points behind Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for the league lead after playing to a 0-0 draw with Brest, while Les Monegasques are fifth following a 1-1 result against Le Havre.
It was another tricky away fixture for Nice last Sunday, failing to score for the second time in their last three league fixtures.
Their lead for second place is down to a mere three points, having dropped points in two of their previous three matches in this competition.
Francesco Farioli‘s men, though, will fancy their chances to increase that lead or at the very least maintain it, seeing as two of their next three domestic affairs take place at Allianz Riviera, where they are unbeaten this season, winning their last six league contests played there.
Nice have conceded the fewest goals in the league all season (11) and have been particularly sharp on that front at home, posting eight clean sheets in their last nine domestic contests in the French Riviera.
Le Gym are undefeated in the French top-flight this season when scoring the opening goal, winning 11 successive league fixtures when doing so.
They have won their last two derbies versus Monaco in Ligue 1 but have only captured three in a row against them twice historically, between 1969-72 and 1985-86 (three each).
Les Monegasques have hit a rough patch in their domestic campaign, winless in their last three league contests and on the outside of a Champions League place next season, currently behind Lille on goal difference.
Since losing back-to-back top-flight away fixtures between late October and November, Monaco have claimed seven out of a possible nine points from their last three league contests as the visiting team, holding onto a 2-2 draw with Marseille in their previous outing.
Monaco have scored and conceded at least once in each of their previous four league contests away from home, their longest such stretch since April-August 2022 (seven).
Throughout the 2023-24 campaign, Adi Hutter‘s men have consistently fought their way back into matches, claiming a positive result on seven occasions in the league this season after conceding the opening goal.
Les Rouge et Blanc have a mere 11 points from their last eight domestic affairs, the 10th-best record in the league over that stretch after having the third-best mark before then (24 points in the opening 12 games).
They are unbeaten in their last four visits to Allianz Riviera, defeating Nice in this exact fixture last season by a 1-0 score.
Nice Ligue 1 form:
Nice form (all competitions):
Monaco Ligue 1 form:
Monaco form (all competitions):
Former Monaco midfielder Sofiane Diop is not expected to be back for Nice on Sunday as he continues to nurse a foot injury, while Terem Moffi will not be available as Nigeria will be playing in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations versus the Ivory Coast.
Marcin Bulka has not conceded in his last two domestic encounters, leading the league with 13 clean sheets, while Youssouf Ndayishimiye, Tom Louchet, Cho and Alexis Claude-Maurice all found the back of the net in their 4-1 Coupe de France triumph over Montpellier in midweek.
Breel Embolo and Caio Henrique are still out for Monaco because of cruciate ligament tears, while Takumi Minamino made a surprise appearance against Le Havre, having been with the Japanese national team in Qatar the day before, at the Asian Cup quarter-finals.
Guillermo Maripan and Denis Zakaria both missed their matchday 20 affair through suspension, while Soungoutou Magassa, Ismail Jakobs and Eliesse Ben Seghir were the three newcomers in the starting 11.
Wissam Ben Yedder has scored in four successive domestic affairs, while Folarin Balogun netted their only goal at the Coupe de France, though he missed his kick in the shootout, just like he did twice in their previous meeting with Nice, as Les Monegasques were upset by Rouen on penalties earlier this week (6-5).
Nice possible starting lineup:
Bulka; Ndayishimiye, Todibo, Dante; Rosier, Boudaoui, Thuram, Perraud; Laborde, Sanson; Guessand
Monaco possible starting lineup:
Kohn; Kehrer, Maripan, Salisu; Vanderson, Akliouche, Fofana, Jakobs; Golovin, Minamino; Ben Yedder
We say: Nice 1-0 Monaco
Losing to a third-tier side at the Coupe de France cannot be good for the confidence of the Principality club, who are in a slump domestically and, outside of Ben Yedder, are struggling to score consistently.
Nice are an intimidating defensive force to deal with at home, with a keeper who may have a psychological edge on the Monegasque attackers given what transpired the last time these teams met when he saved two penalties.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.