Benfica is taking on Monaco in the third match of group C, after losing both games so far and they are desperate to win all three points. So far they were ineffective both at home and on the road, allowing opponents to score a handful of goals while only finding the way to the net ones. Losing to Zenit in the opening match was a serious blow to their chances of reaching the next stage of the Champions League and the very next week they also lost in Germany.
Tonight they will be traveling to France to play against Monaco, a team that is struggling in the domestic championship. Their performance in the European competition has been much better, as they won the first match against the German side and saved a point in St. Petersburg. At the top of the priority list is to strengthen their offensive, with the French side losing its best striker over the season break.
Now that Falcao is playing for Manchester United, Monaco has very few options upfront and the replacements are yet to prove their worth. The team scores an average of one goal per match, which is not enough even for the domestic championship and downright frightening for the Champions League. Against an offensive formation such as Benfica, they are compelled to send more strikers upfront and the starting formation for this fixture is very likely to be a standard 4-4-2.
An interesting insight about the upcoming match, including the lineups and a prediction can be found at http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2015/matches/round=2000548/match=2014344/prematch/background/. It looks like the hosts will be relying once again on veteran Berbatov who is by far their best striker even though he only scored two goals so far. At 33 years old, he is no longer in his prime and will need to make the most of his few opportunities to score.
The Portuguese are usually happy with splitting points on the road, but tonight they will need to aim for more than that, to keep their chances alive. Their invincible streak spans over almost 2 years now and the only defeats were suffered in the Champions League, with one of them during this current season. On the domestic front, they are faring much better and are leading the tables with 19 points in seven games.
Their best weapon is the offensive, with Benfica having a total of seven strikers to choose from, but tonight they are more likely to use Lima and Derley. The two Brazilians have scored a combined two goals, while the most prolific goalscorer is Argentinian midfielder Salvio. Manager Jesus is under a lot of pressure after the weak start and an untimely elimination from the most important European competition will decrease his chances of extending the mandate.