Wednesday’s Cote d’Azur derby between Monaco and Nice will be no ordinary affair. In the dugouts of the respective clubs will be coaches Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, long-time team-mates for Arsenal and France, and fellow ‘Invincibles’.
Life back in France has not started too smoothly for either, with Henry’s Monaco still in the relegation zone, partly due to incredible injury problems for the duration of the season, and Vieira’s Nice having struggled to eighth but now troubled by boardroom issues.
|Game||Monaco v Nice|
|Date||Wednesday, January 16|
|Time||6:00pm GMT /1:00pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed on beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||beIN SPORTS CONNECT|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 3 and livestreamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 3||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Benaglio, Subasic, Sy, L. Badiashile|
|Defenders||Barreca, B. Badiashile, Biancone, Glik, Henrichs, Jemerson, Panzo, Serrano, Sidibe|
|Midfielders||Ait-Bennasser, Diop, Faivre, Golovin, Grandsir, Massengo, Lopes, Pele, Navarro, Tielemans, Thuram|
Thierry Henry will be without 16 players for the match. New signings Cesc Fabregas, Naldo, Fode Ballo-Toure and William Vainqueur are all ineligible.
An astonishing 12 members of his squad remain laid up through injury, including Jean-Eudes Aholou, Nacer Chadli and Stevan Jovetic.
In addition to these issues, Radamel Falcao has had a virus and is a doubt. Djibril Sidibe may be fit to return, though.
Possible Monaco starting XI: Benaglio; Glik, Jemerson, B. Badiashile; Sidibe, Ait-Bennasser, Tielemans, Henrichs; Lopes, Sylla, Golovin
|Defenders||Sarr, Burner, Dante, Coly, Pelmard, Atal, Jallet|
|Midfielders||Walter, Cyprien, Tameze, Makengo, Danilo|
|Forwards||Saint-Maximin, Ganago, Sacko, Sylvestre|
Nice will have to do without centre-back Christophe Herelle, who has a one-match suspension to serve.
Meanwhile, midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou is missing due to injury along with striker Myziane Maolida.
Mario Balotelli continues to be frozen out and has not been named in the squad.
Possible Nice starting XI: Benitez; Atal, Jallet, Dante, Sarr; Tameze, Cyprien; Sylvestre, Walter, Saint-Maximin ; Sacko
Betting & Match Odds
Thierry Henry's Monaco are priced as 13/10 favourites by bet365. A draw is priced at 11/5 while Nice can be backed at 23/10.
The reunion between Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira was initially scheduled for before Christmas, yet security concerns over the ‘gilet jaune’ protests saw that encounter pushed back.
If anything, it has done a favour to Monaco, whose fitness concerns are not quite what they were before the winter break, with star man Rony Lopes now back in the fold after a long period on the sidelines.
It has been a turgid season for the men from the principality thus far, and they go into the midweek fixture in the relegation zone and seeking a first home Ligue 1 victory of the season.
While signs of improvement have been evident, most notably thanks to a positive January transfer campaign to date, Henry will have to cope without his new arrivals, who are not eligible for this fixture as they were not on the club’s books when the original match was pencilled in.
Cesc Fabregas and Fode Ballo-Toure both gave fine displays in Marseille at the weekend and will be missed.
“He is a friend of mine and he is a guy that I admire,” he said.
“Not only for the player, but also for the man, and the game will not change that.
“But it is Monaco versus Nice which is the most important thing, and for a little bit, we are not going to like each other.”
Vieira, meanwhile, has organised his Nice side impressively this season so that they do not concede many goals. However, they have problems going the other way.
He is also looking forward to the midweek encounter.
“It will be our first time facing each other as coaches,” he said. “It will be a moving moment. We shared a lot of things together, but all of this will be forgotten.
“It's strange to be like that, facing each other on a bench. We began our careers here, he in Monaco and me in Cannes, it is a situation that excites us both. I never imagined for a second that we would end up on the benches like that in such a derby.”