Monaco and Nice square off at Stade Louis II on Wednesday evening knowing that victory will take either side a step closer to earning European football next season.
As it stands, fourth-placed Nice hold a one-point lead over their opponents who sit in sixth position in the Ligue 1 standings, and both clubs are still in contention for second after Marseille’s defeat at Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend.
During Philippe Clement’s early weeks at Monaco, it appeared that the club’s hierarchy had made a blunder with the appointment, which did not initially lead to an improvement in fortunes.
However, since the start of March, five wins have come from six games in Ligue 1, the most recent being recorded last Friday as Monaco ran out 3-2 victors at rivals Rennes.
The Monegasques came from behind to close the gap to their third-placed opponents to three points, keeping the club very much in the mix for the Champions League positions.
Wissam Ben Yedder continued his fine run of form during that fixture, making it four goals in as many appearances, but Clement will be delighted that contributions are coming from all over the pitch.
Remarkably, Monaco’s only clean sheet in five matches came at home to PSG, and it is a side of their game which needs to improve during the run-in.
Nice coach Christophe Galtier on March 1, 2022© Reuters
Nice have shown signs of wilting in recent weeks, a four-match streak without success leaving them as outsiders for the runner-up spot behind PSG.
However, their 2-1 victory over Lorient, coupled with Marseille going down by the same scoreline at PSG, have put Christophe Galtier’s team back into the mix.
Heading into the derby de la Côte d’Azur, Nice have gone five matches without a win on the road, their last success coming at bottom-placed Metz all the way back on January 23.
Andy Delort scored both goals during the fixture against Lorient, the forward taking his tally to the season to 10, but he requires more assistance from his teammates with Nice’s attacking record far worse than each of their rivals.