As the Ligue 1 run-in begins, Monaco and Saint-Etienne will go head-to-head on Friday evening in a vital match in the battle for a place in the Europa League.
Monaco head into the meeting one point ahead of their rivals with a game in hand, and with the title race resuming on Sunday, all eyes will be on the Stade Louis II for a potentially crucial fixture.
Team News: Monaco vs Saint-Etienne
Monaco's Portuguese head coach Leonardo Jardim is pictured during the French L1 football match between Bastia (SCB) and Monaco (ASM) in Bastia, Corsica, France on October 25, 2014
In recent seasons, the pressure has been on Monaco to be the main challengers to Paris Saint-Germain in the title race, but expectations have been lowered this season due to a couple of notable departures and a slight change of approach in the transfer market.
The campaign has seen Lyon and Marseille join PSG as the big three in France, but there is still a lot to play for in a campaign which has its fair share of highs and lows. A top-three finish isn't out of the question with Marseille currently just four points better off, although Leonardo Jardim will be fully aware that leading his side into any European competition is the main target.
Monaco are currently on a five-match unbeaten run in the league to give them a boost heading into the closing stages, and Jardim may have been more frustrated than most managers when the international break arrived to stall their momentum ahead of the visit of Saint-Etienne.
Another challenge for Jardim will be to keep his squad fully focused on Ligue 1. Games against Montpellier and Caen follow Friday's fixture before a trip to Turin to take on Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League tie. Monaco may have already surpassed expectations in that competition, but reaching the last eight means that hope continues to grow for their supporters.
Monaco will certainly take confidence from their home form, with their last league defeat at the Stade Louis II coming in the final week of September and continuing that fine run could be the key to clinching fourth and putting more pressure on the title hopefuls.
Jardim may be keen to play down his side's chances of reaching the summit at the end of the season, but moving three points behind leaders PSG would certainly put them back in the picture.
Saint-Etienne's French coach Christophe Galtier waits before the begining of the French L1 football match Saint-Etienne vs Toulouse on September 20, 2013
ASSE may have already proven themselves as the surprise package of the season with their excellent performances under Christophe Galtier, and the shocks may not be over yet as they look to steal fourth and put the pressure on the top three.
Much like Monaco, Galtier's men are unbeaten in their last five league games and it is that form which has seen them earn breathing space from the likes of Montpellier and Bordeaux in the battle for European football.
This season's Europa League campaign ended at the group stage before Christmas, but that exit has sparked a reaction in Ligue 1 and they are desperate to return to the competition after missing out on a spot in the knockout stages.
However, it is the next week which could decide how successful this season has been for Galtier and his squad. A Coupe de France semi-final clash with PSG awaits them next Wednesday and results over the next two games could be damaging or provide them with a huge boost heading into the closing stages of the campaign.
H2H Goal Comparison Monaco - Saint Étienne
Direct Comparison of scored Goals between the two Soccer Teams Monaco and Saint Étienne.
The last Match of Monaco at Home was on 17/03/2015 vs Arsenal finished with Result 0 : 2 and
the Team Saint Étienne played recently away on 14/03/2015 vs Metz with Full Time Result 2 : 3.
The last 5 matches of AS Monaco
22.03.2015 Stade Reims - AS Monaco 1:3 W
14.03.2015 AS Monaco - SC Bastia 3:0 W
08.03.2015 Evian Thonon Gaillard FC - AS Monaco 1:3 W
02.03.2015 AS Monaco - Paris Saint-Germain 0:0 D
21.02.2015 OGC Nice - AS Monaco 0:1 W
The last 5 matches of AS Saint-Etienne
22.03.2015 AS Saint-Etienne - Lille 2:0 W
14.03.2015 FC Metz - AS Saint-Etienne 2:3 W
08.03.2015 AS Saint-Etienne - Lorient 2:0 W
01.03.2015 Toulouse FC - AS Saint-Etienne 1:1 D
23.02.2015 AS Saint-Etienne - Olympique de Marseille 2:2 D
Tag : Ligue 1