Monaco v Nice: Local pride and top spot on the line in Côte d’Azur Derby

AS Monaco's Adi Hütter in a pre-match press conference

Geographically speaking, this is the closest derby in Ligue 1, and rather fittingly, little separates AS Monaco and OGC Nice going into Friday’s Côte d’Azur Derby. 

Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana succinctly previewed Friday night’s fixture at the Stade Louis II, saysing, “It’s the best defence in the league against the best attack in the league. Naturally, it will be a big battle.”

The Principality club, currently atop the Ligue 1 standings, have already scored 15 this season, averaging three goals a game.

Incidentally, it was Nice who prevailed 3-0 at the Stade Louis II last season, but repeating such a feat, given Monaco’s revival and offensive fluidity, will be a difficult task.

“This is our biggest opponent since the start of the league season,” admitted Adi Hütter in Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.

Youssouf Fofana in AS Monaco training by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

The result last season also provides extra motivation for Hütter’s men.

“[That result] was hard and we are looking for revenge. But even if we had won, it’s still a derby,” said Fofana.

Nice won’t be short of motivation themselves. Francesco Farioli’s side have hit their stride in recent weeks, and as well as boasting the best defence in the league, having conceded just four goals, they also beat defending champions Paris Saint-Germain last weekend. A victory over Monaco on Friday would see Nice overtake Les Monégasques and take top spot in Ligue 1.

Monaco “dreaming” of the title?

“It’s a match for which we don’t need any extra motivation, but it being a derby means a lot for everyone. It’s true that playing for first place is a particular motivation, but we need to remain focused on what we do on a daily basis,” said Farioli ahead of the match.

However, Monaco will be highly motivated to retain their position at the top, and given the inconsistent performances of their rivals, could they begin to dream about the title?

“We are allowed to dream aren’t we?” joked Fofana to Monaco Life. “But beating Nice and staying first, that would still be good.”

A fierce and significant battle awaits with local pride and the top spot both on the line.

Monaco predicted XI v Nice

Köhn; Magassa, Maripán, Singo; Henrique, Camara, Fofana, Vanderson; Golovin, Balogun, Minamino


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