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French Cup - Match Prediction: Lyon VS Monaco
Match Time：4/22/2021 03:10 Thursday (GMT+8)
French Cup -- Lyon VS Monaco
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Lyon and Monaco temporarily take a break from their battle for Ligue 1 supremacy as they prepare to lock horns in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France on Wednesday evening.
Both sides head into this battle following weekend victories in the top flight, as Les Gones claimed a narrow 2-1 win at Nantes while Monaco simply swept aside Bordeaux 3-0.
Rudi Garcia's normally effective 4-3-3 system slowly started to fail as Lyon slipped away from the title-chasing pack, but he appears to have found another winning formula with his 4-2-3-1 following two successive victories over Angers and Nantes to reignite their charge for top spot.
Against Les Canaris on Sunday, Memphis Depay bagged both goals before half time - including one from the penalty spot - and even though Nicolas Pallois set up a nervy end to the game with his strike on the hour mark, Lyon held on for a priceless three points in the title chase.
While Les Gones remain fourth in the table, the gap to leaders Lille has been narrowed to just three points after they could only draw with Montpellier HSC on Friday, and fans can certainly expect more twists and turns in the title race with only five games left to play.
As far as their Coupe de France fortunes are concerned, Lyon are aiming to advance to the semi-finals for the third year running, but Paris Saint-Germain's recent dominance of the competition has seen Les Gones go eight years without success since their last triumph in the 2011-12 campaign, and they needed a penalty shootout to overcome Red Star in the previous round.
With a whopping 22 goals to boast from their last eight home matches - two of which have ended in defeat - Lyon's attacking forces must dust off their best shooting boots if they are to have a chance of making it to the final four, but Monaco's resilient defence will not be breached at will.
Niko Kovac's well-oiled Monaco machine moved to within two points of Lille and one point of PSG with another crushing win and clean sheet at the weekend, as an out-of-sorts Bordeaux succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to the principality side at the Matmut Atlantique.
Kevin Volland and Wissam Ben Yedder unsurprisingly combined for the first goal as the German broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, and Gelson Martins proceeded to score his first Ligue 1 goal of 2021, before Stevan Jovetic came off the bench to wrap up a comfortable three points for Kovac's side.
Les Monegasques have now won their last five in all competitions and boast a remarkable seven successive clean sheets since losing 1-0 to Strasbourg on March 3, and they have also navigated three Coupe de France ties without shipping a goal.
However, as was the case with Lyon, Monaco had to rely on their prowess from 12 yards to eliminate Metz in the last-16 stage after a goalless stalemate, but having won 10 of their last 11 away matches in all competitions, Les Monegasques may be regarded as slight favourites to reach their first semi-final since the 2016-17 season.
The two clubs' most recent meeting in the Coupe de France was in the fourth round of the 2017-18 tournament - where Lyon edged a five-goal thriller 3-2 - and Les Gones thrashed Monaco 4-1 in Ligue 1 back in October, but Kovac's side have come on leaps and bounds since their inconsistent period.
Lyon Coupe de France form: WWW
Lyon form (all competitions): DLDWWW
Monaco Coupe de France form: WWW
Monaco form (all competitions): DWWWWW
Lyon attacker Tino Kadewere has been restricted to individual training as he attempts to overcome a thigh injury, so the Zimbabwe international is expected to sit this one out alongside Djamel Benlamri, who has a muscular problem.
However, Houssem Aouar made his return to the pitch off the bench against Nantes and could earn a start in this game, while Thiago Mendes has been sacrificed in Garcia's new setup but could also benefit from some rotation here.
Cup keeper Julian Pollersbeck will hope to continue in between the sticks should Anthony Lopes be rested, while teenage protege Rayan Cherki is an option for change in attack over Karl Toko Ekambi.
Monaco announced that four unnamed players had tested positive for coronavirus before their trip to Bordeaux, and reports have suggested that the infected athletes are Eliot Matazo, Krepin Diatta, Enzo Millot and Chrislain Matsima, who were all nowhere to be seen at the weekend.
Cesc Fabregas is not quite ready to return from his muscular problem just yet, either, but Kovac could make one potential alteration in midfield if Florentino does enough to earn a start over Youssouf Fofana.
Radoslaw Majecki is expected to get the nod in goal, while Axel Disasi and Ruben Aguilar could be rotated into Kovac's staunch rearguard.
Lyon possible starting lineup:
Pollersbeck; De Sciglio, Denayer, Diomande, Cornet; Mendes, Aouar; Cherki, Paqueta, Depay; Slimani
Monaco possible starting lineup:
Majecki; Sidibe, Disasi, Badiashile, Ballo-Toure; Florentino, Tchouameni; Aguilar, Volland, Golovin; Jovetic
Lyon vs Monaco
Lyon 1-2 Monaco
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