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French Cup - Match Prediction: Monaco VS Metz
Match Time：4/7/2021 00:45 Wednesday (GMT+8)
French Cup -- Monaco VS Metz
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Just three days after locking horns in Ligue 1, Monaco and Metz prepare for battle in the last 16 of the Coupe de France at the Stade Louis II on Tuesday evening. Niko Kovac's title hopefuls stormed to a 4-0 win over Les Grenats at the weekend, as goals from Wissam Ben Yedder (2), Cesc Fabregas and Kevin Volland did Monaco's title chances the world of good.
Eyebrows were raised once again when Ben Yedder was benched for Stevan Jovetic for the weekend's visit of Metz, but Monaco's star striker produced a remarkable 30-minute cameo to ensure that Monaco would cruise to victory against their upcoming opponents at the weekend.
Having been brought onto the field of play when his side were already 2-0 up, Ben Yedder struck twice in 12 minutes - with one coming from the penalty spot - after his strike partner Volland and rare starter Fabregas had already found the back of the net in quick succession during a second-half display of attacking dominance.
With Lyon failing to overcome Lens on the same day, Kovac's side rose to third with their thumping win over Metz, and Paris Saint-Germain's defeat to leaders Lille means that Monaco are only one point adrift of the reigning champions ahead of what promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the Ligue 1 title race.
A league and cup double is certainly a possibility for Monaco this term, and their focus now turns to the Coupe de France, where they have already dumped Grenoble Foot 38 and Nice out of the tournament without shipping a goal as they bid to reach the final for the first time since 2010.
Kovac's resilient defence has now kept four clean sheets in a row across all competitions - as well as six from their last seven, with the outlier being a shock 1-0 defeat to Strasbourg - so a straightforward win en route to the quarter-finals is no less than the Monegasques faithful will demand against familiar opposition.
ate red card for captain John Boye rubbed salt into the wounds for Frederic Antonetti at the Stade Louis II, as his side's determined efforts to keep Monaco at bay in the first half eventually went unrewarded following Les Monegasques' second-half flurry.
Les Grenats have now shipped seven goals in their last two outings after an equally dismal 3-1 home defeat to Rennes before the international break, and they have taken just one point from the last 12 on offer in the top flight in a major blow to their fleeting European hopes.
Metz are still realistic contenders for the fifth and final continental spot, but they now find themselves seven points adrift of Lens as they occupy ninth spot in the table, and upcoming fixtures with Lille and PSG later this month could extinguish any ambitions of a season in Europe for Les Grenats.
Since the start of March, Metz's only victory has been their 4-0 thrashing of Valenciennes in the Coupe de France, and Antonetti's men also overcame Amiens 2-1 to book their place in the last 16, where they have been knocked out twice in the past three seasons.
Metz have already improved on their dismal finish in the 2019-20 Coupe de France, where FC Rouen 1899 sent them packing in the third round, but they have not reached the quarter-finals of France's premier cup competition since the 2007-08 campaign and that is unlikely to change against a ruthless Monaco outfit, who will hope to see lightning strike twice at the Stade Louis II this week.
Monaco Coupe de France form: WW
Monaco form (all competitions): WLWDWW
Metz Coupe de France form: WW
Metz form (all competitions): WLWDLL
Fabregas grasped his opportunity with both hands as the suspended Aurelien Tchouameni watched on against Metz, but the well-rested 21-year-old is available for this game and could slot straight back into the midfield.
Ben Yedder must surely be welcomed back to the first XI after two substitute outings in a row, while fellow attacker Gelson Martins also made his comeback from a long-term knee injury at the weekend, but Krepin Diatta is a more likely candidate to be rotated into the attack.
Kovac will put out a strong team but is likely to take this opportunity to utilise his resources on the bench, meaning that the likes of Florentino and Fode Ballo-Toure can be hopeful of earning starts this week.
However, Ruben Aguilar will miss out after testing positive for coronavirus, while Sofiane Diop has undergone an operation on a hand fracture and is also unavailable.
Metz manager Antonetti could opt to draft Mamadou Fofana into the back three as Boye serves his suspension, but on a brighter note, first-choice goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja is back in the fold after his four-match ban.
Oukidja will certainly replace Marc-Aurele Caillard in between the posts this week, but Kevin N'Doram and Lamine Gueye suffered thigh and foot injuries at the weekend and are highly unlikely to return for the cup.
Antonetti still has options in abundance, though, with Thomas Delaine, Victorien Angban and Vagner all candidates to start for the out-of-form visitors.
Monaco possible starting lineup:
Lecomte; Sidibe, Maripan, Badiashile, Ballo-Toure; Florentino, Tchouameni, Fabregas; Diatta, Ben Yedder, Volland
Metz possible starting lineup:
Oukidja; Kouyate, Fofana, Bronn; Centonze, Angban, Maiga, Delaine; Boulaya; Vagner, Leya Iseka
Monaco VS Metz
Monaco 2-0 Metz
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