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Casanova feeling the love in second Toulouse stint

Publish on 12/09/2018 at 17h00

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Toulouse FC are flying high in Alain Casanova's second spell in charge, with Max Gradel and Co. in third with 2017 Ligue 1 Conforama champions AS Monaco the next to brave the Stadium Municipal on Saturday.

 Toulouse FC - AS Monaco 

 

Toulouse only preserved their French top-flights status with a relegation play-off win over AC Ajaccio in May, but the Garonne club have got off to a flying start following Casanova's return in June.

Refusing to panic after an opening-day 3-0 loss to Olympique de Marseille, Le Téfécé have since picked up maximum points with consecutive wins over Girondins de Bordeaux, Nîmes Olympique and EA Guingamp.

Gradel making the grade

Alban Lafont - widely regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football - left for Fiorentina over the summer, but his replacement, Baptiste Reynet, has settled quickly. Perhaps their shrewdest move of the recent transfer window was making Gradel's loan deal from Bournemouth permanent, though.

Watch:  Highlights of Toulouse's 2-1 win at Guingamp!

Christopher Jullien may wear the captain's armband, but it is the Ivorian winger who has been proving the side's on-field talisman, with his opener in the 2-1 win at Guingamp before the international break taking his Ligie 1 Conforama tally to two goals and an assist in just 360 minutes played this term.

"We have a squad that has lofty ambitions," Casanova explained in his post-match press-conference at the Stade de Roudourou. "Even when the chips are down this team keeps faith. That's an attitude we want to see all season long. We couldn't have played any better!"

Mirror image

Toulouse have no injury concerns ahead of Monaco's visit, and should be unchanged from the team that won in Brattany, with Gradel left of Aaron Leya Iseka, who should once again lead the line.

Monaco's form has been a mirror image of Toulouse's, meanwhile. Radamel Falcao has, like Gradel, scored twice and assisted another, but unlike the Ivorian he has struggled to translate that attacking prowess into points for his team.

Watch:  Highlights of Monaco's 3-2 loss to Marseille!

The principality side won their opening-day clash with FC Nantes 3-1, but their 3-2 loss to Marseille two weeks ago means that Leonardo Jardim's side have only picked up a single point since. Stevan Jovetic (calf) and Andrea Raggi (illness) are doubts, although Jardim might have been expected to rotate anyway, with a Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid to follow on Tuesday.

"Monaco played without intensity and desire in the first hour," he said following the Marseille match. "We were very passive. The substitutions gave us a bit more aggression. Everyone knows that Monaco is a beautiful project but we need to win games. Our objectives are high and we need to do more in order to achieve them."

 

Possible line-ups

Toulouse: Reynet; Amian, Jullien, Todibo, Moubandje; Sangaré, Bostock; Dossevi, Garcia, Gradel; Leya Iseka

Monaco: Benaglio; Sidibé, Glik, Jemerson, Henrichs; Tielemans, Aït Bennasser, Aholou; Mboula, Falcao, Lopes