Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Fenerbahce vs AS Monaco Champions League Match Preview And Prediction - July 28, 2016

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Fenerbahce will certainly be hoping for a more successful European campaign than last season. They entered the group stages of the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League at this season, and managed to make it through a tough group including Ajax, Celtic, and Molde, so it was all going well.

They saw off Lokomotiv Moscow in the first knockout round and then beat Sporting Braga 1-0 in the home leg of their last 16 tie. However, it all went wrong for them in Portugal. Braga drew the scored level in the 11th minute, but deep in first half injury time Fenerbahce netted to make it 2-1 on aggregate. A poor refereeing decision in the second half sparked outrage in the Turkish camp though, and it eventually led to Fenerbahce having three players dismissed and Braga winning the match 4-1.

These three players are still banned from European football, so Fenerbahce will have to make do without them, as well as star player Nani after his transfer to Valencia. However, they do have a very good squad for this stage of the competition and a rich pedigree in European football. They made it as far as the quarter finals as recently as 2008 and they have been regulars in the Champions League group stages since the early 2000s.

They can feel somewhat aggrieved to have drawn such a tough match for the 3rd qualifying round, because Monaco are no slouches either. The big spending French side managed to finish in 3rd position in Ligue 1 last season, with Lyon edging the runners up spot on goal difference. This was despite a very poor start to the season which saw them struggling for wins.

This means they enter the Champions League for the 3rd consecutive season, and it was only in the 2014/15 campaign that they managed to make it to the quarter finals of the competition, eliminating Arsenal in the last 16. They also famously made it to the final in 2003/04, losing to Jose Mourinho’s Porto.

Monaco did suffer an absence from Europe during their decline after 2008, with them suffering financial turmoil and a shock relegation. They are well and truly back among it now though.

Fenerbahce haven’t had much success on home turf in the Champions League in recent years. They have only won one of their last nine home games in the competition, losing four times. Monaco, on the other hand, have managed three wins in their last five away days in the Champions League, including victories over Bayer Leverkusen, Arsenal, and Young Boys.

I think Monaco have the stronger squad of the two teams, and Fenerbahce will be missing four key players through suspension and recent transfers. This will boost Monaco’s chances even further, and my prediction is a Monaco Draw No Bet at 1/1 alongside a 1-0 correct score prediction at 13/2.

This will be the first meeting between these sides.

Monaco have won 60% of their last five away games in the Champions League.

Central midfielder Uygar Zeybek is out injured, whilst left winger pair Alper Potuk and Volkan Sen and midfielder Mehmet Topal are all suspended. Nani has also departed for Valencia, but new arrival Martin Skrtel could make an appearance.

Monaco are expected to be free from injury problems, and their three big defensive signings Djibril Sidibe, Benjamin Mendy, and Kamil Glik could play.

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