After a disappointing ninth-place finish in last season’s Ligue 1, AS Monaco football club, are enjoying a far better season. The Monégasques are amongst four sides who are all vying for a top-three spot which offers them a Champions League spot in the next year’s campaign. A fifth or sixth-place finish would provide them with a Europa League spot, but you would think this would be a disappointment on the current form.
The basketball team of the AS Monaco sports group is also flourishing this year. The current champions have been flying high once again in the LNB pro-A, having lost only once this campaign and sitting at the top of the table.
There are plenty of cities around the world that boast more than one top sports side, but perhaps none more iconic than Chicago. The Bears share their 61,500-capacity stadium with MLS side, Chicago Fire. While neither side has produced outstanding results in recent years, both are massively supported. Of course, it’s the Bulls that are the most well-known around the world. However, they haven’t set light to the NBA in recent times and are currently priced at a huge 300.0 with top online betting sites in Illinois and across US like William Hill to win the championship this time around.
Monaco have already notched two more wins than they did the entire season last year. 13 wins from 22 games have put them in a great position heading into the campaign’s business end.
Summer signing Kevin Volland has made an instant impact on the side’s fortunes. The much-hyped German international joined from Bayern Leverkusen for the Bundesliga club’s record fee of €18m. Since arriving, he has scored 11 times and assisted 6 in only 20 appearances. His goal contribution amounts for a third of the clubs 44 this season.
22-year-old Axel Disasi is another one of Niko Kovac’s summer recruits to hit the ground running. Signed from Stade de Reims for around €11m, there was a degree of expectation on the big defender. He has helped tighten the defence and has even scored 3 goals in his first 17 matches.
In saying that, Monaco has the worst goal difference of the top four sides, and by some distance. Having conceded 31 times, they have let in at least 16 more goals than any side above them.
This is a significant concern as it shows where their weakness is. Kovac is also relying heavily on 19-year-old Benoit Badiashile. The 1.94m defender is an ominous figure at the centre of defence, and with 56 top-level appearances under his belt, he does know what he is doing. However, a bit of experience at the back would greatly help Monaco and help the youngsters progress. As the pressure mounts towards the end of the season, defenders will have to hold their nerve.
Interestingly, AS didn’t add any additional defenders during the January transfer window, although they did highly-rated winger, Krépin Diatta, and at over €16m, good things are expected. Diatta comes highly recommended as a winger and will offer another attacking option down the outside. He comes from Club Brugges with 17 goals to his name in 62 appearances. That is more than a decent return.
It’s clear that Monaco is playing an exciting style of football and aren’t shy of scoring a few goals. However, it’s their form at the back that makes us doubt their title chances. At 21.0, it’s a bit of a stretch.
Kovac’s intentions are clear that he wants to outscore opponents with plenty of goals. Therefore we think they do have a good chance of securing Champions League football. At only 3.0 with William Hill, the odds are lower, but could still be good value.