El Tigre misses Bordeaux trip
By D. Crossan
Ligue 1 Conforama champions Monaco are without the division’s top scorer Radamel Falcao for Saturday’s trip to off-colour Bordeaux.
The Monaco skipper, the scorer of 13 goals in nine Ligue 1 Conforama outings this season, has a thigh injury and misses the game at a venue where he netted a hat-trick last season in a convincing 4-0 success. Rachid Ghezzal (thigh), Guido Carrillo (foot) and Terence Kongolo (knee) are also sidelined, but there’s a return to the squad for Stevan Jovetic following a thigh problem, though the Montenegrin does not have 90 minutes in his legs. Full-back Djibril Sidibé, meanwhile, is still struggling with the fatigue issues that saw him miss last weekend’s 2-0 home win against Caen.
Coach Leonardo Jardim commented: "That’s football. Some days you have everybody available and on other occasions you’re missing players. That’s why we have a squad and players who haven’t played as much will get their chance. I will attempt to balance the side with the players available."
Given the attacking absences and Jovetic’s lack of match fitness, Keita Baldé has become even more important to the champions. The Senegalese international forward scored his first Monaco goal against Caen from a starting position on the left in a 4-2-3-1. The former Lazio hitman could be required in a central position at the Matmut Atlantique.
Jardim: "I believe a lot in Baldé"
Jardim said: "Keita is a quality player. He hadn’t played for four months and hadn’t put in a pre-season. Now he’s showing his qualities but he hasn’t reached his maximum. He’s got a lot of room for progress. At Lyon as a centre-forward he played positively, the same went when he played wide against Caen. He can’t yet play 90 minutes at the same intensity but I believe a lot in him. He’s a mobile player who likes playing wide or at centre-forward. It’s good to have a player like him who offers solutions."
Jardim insisted Monaco are taking each game as it comes despite the looming UEFA Champions League match at Besiktas on Wednesday, a critical game for last season’s semi-finalists as they stand bottom of their section with a mere point from three matches played, two of them at home.
"We’re going to play against a good Bordeaux side,” said the Portuguese coach. “They had a good season last year and this season they are better balanced, stronger and have reinforced their squad. They have a more stable midfield, two really good wide players, a good goalkeeper and an experienced defence featuring Jérémy Toulalan."
Bordeaux are without a win in three games and have slipped to seventh in the table since Paris Saint-Germain ended their unbeaten start to the season in Week 8. Losing 1-0 at Amiens last weekend infuriated Jocelyn Gourvennec and the former Guingamp coach had barely calmed down by the time he gave his pre-Monaco press conference.
Gourvennec: "I had a go at the players"
Gourvennec said: "I had a go at the players. Once that was done we needed to get back down to work. We were pushed about at Amiens and that was unacceptable. It can happen that you don’t play well in games but it’s unacceptable to capitulate in that manner. I don’t want to see that from my teams."
Six points behind second-placed Monaco, Bordeaux will make changes for the visit of the champions. Gourvennec added: "We messed up against Amiens but the squad has done well since the start of the season. Against Monaco, before thinking about the win and the table I want us to rediscover our team."
Bordeaux: Costil; Sabaly, Toulalan (c), Jovanovic, Pellenard; Lerager, Otávio, Sankharé; Malcom, De Préville, Kamano
Monaco: Subasic (c); Raggi, Glik, Jemerson, Jorge; Fabinho, Moutinho; Lopes, Lemar, Diakhaby; Baldé