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Fabregas out of derby as Henry and Vieira clash

Publish on 16/01/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Cesc Fabregas is unable to play as Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira go head to head when AS Monaco host OGC Nice in the rearranged Côte d'Azur derby on Wednesday.

AS Monaco  -  OGC Nice

The Spain star impressed on his debut in Sunday's 1-1 draw away to Olympique de Marseille at the Vélodrome following his arrival from Chelsea at the end of last week. However, the 31-year-old is ineligible for this match at the Stade Louis II because he had not been signed when this match was initially scheduled in December.

At the time it was one of a host of matches called off because of the gilets jaunes protest movement, and so now Henry and Vieira finally get to take each other on in a fixture that is vital for both teams.

Monaco remain in the relegation zone but spirits have been lifted by their start to 2019, with the encouraging result and performance in Marseille coming after they progressed in both cup competitions. A wave of new signings has also given the principality club a lift, although Naldo, Fodé Ballo-Touré and William Vainqueur will have to join Fabregas in watching from the stands this evening.

Nice, meanwhile, have lost just one of their last nine league games as they look to keep in touch with the European places. Mario Balotelli will not feature amid ongoing uncertainty about his future, while defender Christophe Hérelle is suspended.

Henry and Vieira take each other on as coaches for the first time

Henry 'one of the greats'

But much of the focus in the principality will be on the two dugouts, as former Arsenal and France teammates Henry and Vieira face off as coaches for the first time.

"We met in London over the holidays and had a coffee together. We talked about a lot of things. This will be the first time we have come up against each other as coaches, so it will be a moving occasion. We have shared a lot of things together, but all that will be forgotten," Vieira said at a press conference on the eve of the game.

Of his opposite number, Vieira added: "He is one of the greats of French football, up there with Michel Platini, Raymond Kopa and Zidane. The determination with which he has gone about his football is an example to follow for all young players."

Probable teams

Monaco: Benaglio; Glik, Jemerson, B. Badiashile; Sidibé, Aït Bennasser, Tielemans, Henrichs; Lopes, Golovin; Sylla

Nice: Benítez; Atal, Jallet, Dante (c), Sarr; Tameze, Cyprien; Sylvestre, Walter, Saint-Maximin; Sacko