Angers face Monaco as relegation to Ligue 2 is confirmed
After failing to delay the inevitable with a 4-2 defeat against Rennes last matchday, Angers’ relegation to Ligue 2 was confirmed with five games remaining. Les Scoïstes can now only play with the aim of avoiding finishing rock-bottom, but even that seems like a far-fetched idea for a side who have picked up the joint-second fewest points of any Ligue 1 side after 33 rounds, if converting to three-points-for-a-win.
Angers need four points from their remaining five games if they’re to better the record of the worst ever Ligue 1 side, Lens in 1988/89. It’s difficult to make a case for them getting anything from their next two games, both of which are against current top-four opposition, who they are yet to pick up a point against this season whilst conceding at least twice in every game (L6).
This seems like the perfect time for Monaco to face one of the worst sides in history as they look to end a run of eight straight conceded goals without reply to cling onto their top-four spot. A seven-point gap to third suggests a UEFA Champions League place may be a bridge too far, yet with multiple sides chasing in behind, they need to bounce back from consecutive defeats to hold onto a Europa League spot.
Confidence should be high for a resurgence if one considers Monaco’s almost perfect record against sides beginning the round in the bottom-eight (W11, D2, L1). In fact, the principality club have scored 11 times and conceded just once in reply across their three league games against bottom-two clubs, a stat which may raise hopes of maintaining their six-game unbeaten streak of away H2Hs (W4, D2).
Players to watch: Nabil Bentaleb scored his second penalty of the season last weekend, yet it turned out to be the fifth league game from seven in which Angers had scored first and failed to win (W2, D1, L4). Monaco haven’t scored at all in over three hours of play since Wissam Ben Yedder hit a brace of assists against Lorient, but he’s now at risk of picking up a yellow card in three straight games for the first time in his career.
Hot stat: Angers have conceded at least twice before half-time in four of their last six games.