Football/Ligue 1. Racing – Monaco: Royal opening

The context: Strasbourg advantage, really?

One, Racing, is the only unbeaten team to be home to Paris Saint-Germain in 2022 (6 wins, 3 draws). The other, Monaco, is the one who has collected the most points this year in Ligue 1 (40), tied with…PSG. These two figures alone would be enough to situate the opposition challenge between the two clubs in a sold-out Meinau this Saturday (5pm) ahead of the opening of a 2022-2023 season that Lyon – Ajaccio will launch tonight (9pm). ).

But recently there has also been a trend reversal between the RCSA and the ASM, which is nice on the banks of the Krimmeri, let alone the Rock. The Blues have indeed lost only one of their last eight encounters with the “Red and White” (5 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss).

However, they had to wait more than 40 years to end their drought in the Principality on January 19, 2019 – 5-1 victory, thanks in part to a double and a decisive pass from their deadly weapon Ludovic Ajorque – which she had not had since August 1978. won.

This Saturday, between two European encounters – his 1-1 domestic draw last Tuesday against PSV Eindhoven at 3e first qualifying round in the Champions League and this Tuesday’s return to the Netherlands -, the team of Belgian technician Philippe Clement arrives in Strasbourg looking for an 11e Consecutive game without defeat in L1, she who completed 2021-2022 at breakneck speed, with 9 wins in a row, then a final draw at Lens (2-2) where she still led in 96e.

But it was at La Meinau that she suffered her last defeat in the competition (1-0 on March 13 on Alexander Djiku’s famous bike). She remains there on three defeats and a draw. And the men of Julien Stéphan, 6to be want to launch the new exercise on a good basis in 2021-2022 at the end of an exceptional season, even by 3e of the last championship.

“There is no negative pressure to say to yourself, ‘We need to do just as well or even better than last year’, plays Julien Stéphan: “We know that what has been achieved is exceptional for Strasbourg. But it was also deserved (…). We start very heavy. We’ll be in the bath. We will have to play a very big game and be super efficient in all areas of the game.”

For the first deadline of 2022-2023, the blue people are waiting for that.

The men to watch: Ajorque-Thomasson, princely duo

Friends in life, henchmen on the pitch, Ludovic Ajorque, Strasbourg’s top scorer of the 21st century (50 official goals, including 45 in Ligue 1), and Adrien Thomasson (28 goals in the Alsatian tunic) have regularly hurt AS Monaco during their career. The Reunion striker scored five goals – including two penalties – against the Monegasques, all in the Principality. A decisive pass will be added to this series of achievements on January 19, 2019, also for Louis II. That day, not content with drawing a double, he made an offering to Ibrahima Sissoko.

As for “Adri” Thomasson, he also shook the nets of ASM five times: once with Nantes, four times with Strasbourg.

The group: extra rotations

Gameiro, Djiku, Delaine, Mothiba and Sissoko: The Strasbourg workforce has grown significantly in training this week following the “historic” success in Liverpool on Sunday before the final pre-season (3-0, doubled by Thomasson and Diallo’s goal). In the meantime, he certainly lost his young striker Moïse Sahi, who was loaned out to FC Annecy (Ligue 2) as defender Maxime Bastian before him.

Since Julien Stéphan cannot count on troops in a homogeneous state of form, he will therefore fall back on a new expanded group. “It doesn’t mean everyone is available or ready for the game this weekend,” the coach warned at a press conference on Thursday. “But it is beneficial for us to have additional players available. »

Sissoko and Mothiba were therefore not selected, but will have playing time on Sunday (11 am) during a friendly behind closed doors canter against Versailles (National) on the main field of Meinau.

Saved this Friday to catch a breath, Maxime Le Marchand is one of 20 players called up by the RCSA coach. “It was expected”, said the central defender himself, before confirming his presence in the group.

The young Franci Bouebari, Kanfory Kaba and Antoine Nuss, who participated in this session before the race, were not held.

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