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Monaco v Toulouse – AS kick-off their title defence
This summer has gone as expected for Monaco, selling a number of their key players – Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiémoué Bakayoko have all left for either Manchester City or Chelsea – to mean that their balance is currently a profit of around €113m in the transfer window.
Crucially, though, to this point they have managed to keep hold of Kylian Mbappe. The 18-year-old has been widely linked to Real Madrid, and recent reports suggest that he has asked to leave, though he is still playing in the principality and should line-up on Friday night at the Stade Louis II. Thomas Lemar and Fabinho, two other key players in their march to the Ligue 1 title and Champions League semi-finals last season, have also remained, as well as the eight new faces that they have welcomed, including Youri Tielemans. The club have a lot to live up to after they managed to record 107 goals in 38 matches, and their star striker Radamel Falcao has renewed his contract.
Beating Paris Saint-Germain to the title this season is likely to be much harder. They are on the verge of signing Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record fee, which will make them one of the strongest European sides. On top of that, manager Unai Emery is under extreme pressure to not just to win Ligue 1 in his second season, but to be among the major contenders to win the Champions League. The Parisians were incredibly knocked out of Europe’s top club competition by Barca in the last-16, despite taking a 4-0 lead to the Nou Camp.
This season opener gives Toulouse the opportunity to perhaps take advantage of AS’s new faces. Les Pitchouns finished 13th last season, though this was an improvement on 15/16 when they narrowly avoided relegation by a single point. They head into their Monaco fixture having won just once in pre-season – against Osasuna of La Liga.
Monaco, less than a week after losing the Trophée des Champions Final to PSG, are 1.30 to win the first match of the season and go top on Friday night. The expectancy that they will have too much for their opponents is shown in that they are 1.06 to avoid defeat with a Double Chance bet. There are 61 markets available, with Toulouse 10.0 to cause an upset.
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