Monaco will endeavour to make it four wins on the bounce in all competitions when they welcome Lorient to Stade Louis II for Sunday lunchtime’s Ligue 1 battle.
Les Monegasques occupy sixth spot in the table heading into this encounter, while their visitors find themselves in 17th after managing to end a torrid winless run.
Even Prince Albert II of Monaco questioned the decision to relieve Niko Kovac of his duties earlier this year – while simultaneously extending a warm welcome to Philippe Clement – and the former Club Brugge boss is starting to find his feet in the Principality.
A pair of Coupe de France wins over Lens and Amiens came either side of a 2-0 league win over fellow French giants Lyon on February 5, as Jean Lucas headed home with less than two minutes on the clock before talisman Wissam Ben Yedder made sure of the result.
Monaco are rank outsiders when it comes to the race for Champions League football – currently six points adrift of Nice at the time of writing – but they could end the gameweek as high as fourth should other results go their way.
With Les Monegasques finding the back of the net at least twice in their last five matches across all competitions, Lorient ought to prepare for being under the cosh at the Stade Louis II, where Monaco have been a different beast all season.
Indeed, this week’s hosts are unbeaten in nine league matches at the Stade Louis II and have won each of their last four in front of their own fans, but Lorient have at least received a major confidence boost ahead of this daunting fixture.
Lorient’s Armand Lauriente celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on September 10, 2021© Reuters
Lorient and Lens have certainly gone in opposite directions since earning promotion to the big time for the 2020-21 season, with Les Merlus involved in relegation scraps while Sang et Or continue to challenge for European spots.
However, Lens’ fleeting hopes of a continental berth took another hit against Christophe Pelissier’s side on February 6, as Sambou Soumano met Armand Lauriente’s cross to tap home before Ibrahima Kone pounced to propel Lorient to a much-needed 2-0 win.
In doing so, Lorient managed to end a winless streak stretching all the way back to September 22 – losing 10 and drawing five since a narrow victory over Nice – and Les Merlus suddenly find themselves above the drop zone in 17th place but level on points with Metz and Bordeaux.
As morale-boosting as that victory was, Lorient now face a mammoth task of trying to end an abysmal seven-game losing run away from home in Ligue 1 – their tally of four points on the road this term is by far the worst in the division – and not since October 2020 have Pelissier’s side actually won a league game on the road.
Lorient may not fancy their chances of ending such an embarrassing winless streak here, although they did beat Monaco 1-0 on home soil earlier in the season, and last season’s meeting at Stade Louis II ended all square.