Olympique Lyonnais will host AS Monaco in Sunday’s most-anticipated Ligue 1 clash from the Groupama Stadium.
Both Lyon and Monaco finished with 40 points in the curtailed season last term and they missed out on European football.
Still, Rudi Garcia’s side earned plenty of plaudits from the fans as they reached the Champions League semi-final thereafter.
The club beat Juventus and Manchester City en route to the last four of the competition where they were outclassed by eventual winners Bayern Munich.
They have started the new season on a disappointing note with just 10 points attained from seven games, while managing only two wins.
Meanwhile, Monaco have experienced a similar start under new boss Niko Kovac and they are just one point ahead of their counterparts.
Rennes suffered a surprise home defeat to Angers on Friday night and both teams have the opportunity to catch up on the third spot.
Lyon and Monaco are five and four points adrift of the final Champions League place respectively with the game in hand.
The teams have previously met on 116 occasions and Monaco have had the edge with 49 wins to Lyon’s 41, with the remaining ending in draws.
The past three meetings has seen one team fail to find the back of the net. However, there have been no stalemates since the 2015/16 campaign.
They met on the opening matchday of the 2019/2020 season where Lyon triumphed by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline at Stade Louis II.
Monaco have failed to pick up a point against Lyon on the road since the 2016/17 season where they won the Ligue 1 crown after 17 years.
Players to watch out for:
Memphis Depay – Lyon: The Netherlands international started the season in fine fashion with a hat-trick against Dijon at home, but he managed just one goal in the next five games where he regularly featured off the bench amid the speculation that he could join Barcelona. The Dutchman’s move to Camp Nou broke down on deadline day and he has returned back to his best after the international break. Les Gones recently won 3-2 win at Strasbourg, and Depay caught the eye with assists for each of their goals. He has been Lyon’s main creative force this term.
Wissam Ben Yedder – Monaco: Ben Yedder and Kylian Mbappe both top scored last season with 18 goals, but the former missed out on the Golden Boot after scoring lesser goals from open play. He has started the current season in the same vein of form with four goals from seven outings, but will have to play at his best to end Monaco’s two-match winless streak on Sunday. Ben Yedder has been on the winning side against Lyon on just three of his previous 11 meetings. He has still enjoyed the games on a personal level with six goals and one assist against them.
Lyon will be without club graduate Maxence Caqueret and German shot-stopper Julian Pollersbeck after they tested positive for COVID-19. Left-back Melvin Bard is the sole absentee due to injury (unknown).
Monaco, on the other hand, won’t be able to rely on the services of left-back Fode Ballo-Toure (metatarsal fracture) and midfielder Aleksandr Golovin (hamstring) for the weekend’s clash.
Lyon (4-3-3): Anthony Lopes; Leo Dubois, Marcelo, Jason Denayer, Maxwel Cornet; Thiago Mendes, Lucas Paqueta, Houssem Aouar; Karl Toko Ekambi, Moussa Dembele, Memphis Depay
AS Monaco (4-3-3): Benjamin Lecomte; Ruben Aguilar, Chrislain Matsima, Benoit Badiashile, Djibril Sidibe; Aurelien Tchouameni, Cesc Fabregas, Sofiane Diop; Kevin Volland, Wissam Ben Yedder, Gelson Martins
This game has a draw written over it. Monaco and Lyon both possess quality attacking options and they are bound to be goals, considering they have not drawn blank in the previous nine league meetings. Still, neither side is solid on the defensive front and we are fancying a high-scoring contest with both teams sharing the spoils.
Olympique Lyonnais 2-2 AS Monaco