On the back of disappointing results in the weekend’s Ligue 1 action, Nantes and Monaco do battle at the Stade de la Beaujoire with a place in the Coupe de France final on the line.
The two top-flight outfits are vying for the opportunity to meet either Nice or fourth-tier Versailles in the showpiece event, scheduled for May 8 at the Stade de France.
From the highs of a storming victory against Paris Saint-Germain to the lows of an underwhelming goalless draw against Metz, Nantes missed a terrific opportunity to extend their winning streak in all tournaments to four matches against Les Grenats on Sunday.
Ludovic Blas went close for Les Canaris, who were facing a Metz side beginning a temporary spell without Frederic Antonetti as he serves a lengthy suspension, and not even Vincent Pajot’s late red card could spark a late Nantes surge for all three points.
However, Antoine Kombouare has transformed Nantes into European outsiders after they salvaged their top-flight status by the skin of their teeth last season, and they have already seen off Sochaux, Vitre, Brest and Bastia in the 2021-22 Coupe de France.
Incredibly, Les Canaris have made it through to the semi-finals without conceding a single goal in the tournament so far, but their most recent appearance in the final four ended in a swift exit at the hands of PSG in the 2018-19 campaign.
Nantes could arguably not be closer to securing their first Coupe de France crown since 2000, with Kombouare steering his side to five successive wins from their last five games at the Stade de la Beaujoire, and Monaco are not exactly high on confidence right now.
Monaco may now have an added incentive to throw all their resources at challenging for the Europa League, as a spate of underwhelming results in Ligue 1 have seen their hopes of European qualification via their league position take a bitter blow.
After being forced to settle for a point against both Lorient and Bordeaux, Monaco struggled to stamp their authority on Reims despite Wissam Ben Yedder’s opener and ultimately fell to a humiliating 2-1 defeat versus the depleted visitors courtesy of Kevin Volland’s own goal and Nathanael Mbuku’s late winner.
The Philippe Clement revolution has lost quite a bit of momentum in recent weeks, but Monaco have enjoyed a simple route into the Coupe de France semi-finals, overcoming Red Star, Quevilly Rouen, Lens and Amiens so far.
Three of Les Monegasques’ victories in that sequence have come away from home, and Monaco will be determined to go one better this year after falling to PSG in the 2021 final, but the form book certainly does not favour them.
Furthermore, both of the Ligue 1 meetings between Nantes and Monaco this term have ended level, but those 1-1 and 0-0 stalemates have stretched Les Monegasques’ unbeaten run in this fixture to eight games since a 1-0 loss in November 2017.
Nantes Coupe de France form:
Nantes form (all competitions):
Monaco Coupe de France form:
Monaco form (all competitions):
We say: Nantes 1-1 Monaco (Monaco to win on penalties)
On paper, this would be a walk in the park for Monaco, but Nantes have turned the Stade de la Beaujoire into a fortress and are more than capable of taking advantage of Les Monegasques’ downward spiral.
Tchouameni’s return cannot be understated, though, and even though we have faith in a resilient Nantes to hold on in normal time, Monaco’s revered names ought to get the job done from 12 yards to send the Principality side into their second successive Coupe de France final.