Monaco will endeavour to bounce back from two successive draws in Ligue 1 when Reims visit the Stade Louis II on Sunday lunchtime.
Philippe Clement’s side could only draw 1-1 with relegation-threatened Bordeaux in gameweek 25, while their visitors held Brest to a single point by the same scoreline.
Seeking to make an impression against his former club amid links with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid, Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni did himself no favours when he collected two yellow cards and was brandished from the field on the 34-minute mark.
By that point, Bordeaux had already taken the lead through Remi Oudin’s smart half-volley, but the 10 men of Monaco refused to roll over and accept defeat and stole a point after Gelson Martins’s effort hit two Girondins defenders before trickling in, with the effort going down as a Marcelo own goal.
Having also been held to a goalless stalemate by another bottom-half side in Lorient a week before, there is some slight apprehension creeping into Monaco quarters now, with Les Monegasques occupying sixth place – seven points off the Champions League places and four behind fourth-placed Strasbourg.
The 1-1 draw at the Matmut Atlantique did at least make it five games unbeaten in all competitions for Monaco, who also have the small matter of the return of their Europa League ventures next month with their last-16 battles against Sporting Braga.
Prior to facing the Portuguese side, Monaco would do well to extend their remarkable run of results at the fortress that is the Stade Louis II, where they are unbeaten in 14, have won five of their last six and have also kept four clean sheets on the bounce.
In the absence of highly-experienced captain Yunis Abdelhamid through suspension, fellow Reims defender Wout Faes took on the skipper’s responsibility against Brest and donned the armband with aplomb, firing his side into the lead after just four minutes with a magnificent header.
However, Brest ensured that Rouges et Blancs supporters would be kept waiting for another home win, as Romain Del Castillo’s delightful ball found the feet of Martin Satriano, and the Inter Milan loanee needed no second invitation to fire home past Predrag Rajkovic.
Despite an underwhelming set of results in recent weeks – posting just one win from their last seven in all competitions – Oscar Garcia’s youthful Reims side are still seven points clear of the relegation zone in 14th, although their position is far from secure.
Reims could yet be dragged into a scrap for survival, though, as they travel to Monaco having won just twice away from home all season and have failed to score in each of their last three on the road – a statistic that will not be helped by a recent injury to striker Hugo Ekitike.
Garcia’s side did manage to hold Monaco to a 0-0 draw earlier in the season – the fifth time that this contest has finished level in the last seven meetings – and incredibly, all of the last five Ligue 1 matches between Monaco and Reims on Les Monegasques’ turf have seen both sides shake hands on a point.
Monaco Ligue 1 form:
Monaco form (all competitions):
Reims Ligue 1 form:
Reims form (all competitions):
We say: Monaco 4-0 Reims
With absentees in the double-figures, a terrible scoring record away from home and captain Abdelhamid still on the naughty step, this has all the makings of a bad day at the office for Reims.
Monaco have flattered to deceive in recent weeks but normally turn up the heat when it matters at home, and a depleted Reims side will surely have no answer to Wissam Ben Yedder and co.