FC Barcelona trying to steal the win in Monaco

Probably the most interesting game from Round 13 of the EuroLeague will be the players tonight in the Gaston Medecin arena in the Principality of Monaco, between AS Monaco and FC Barcelona.

After almost reaching the Final Four last season, expectations are higher for Monaco this year and coach Sasa Obradovic’s team did not disappoint at all so far. Monaco is 2nd in the standings with a 9-3 record and a win against Barca today will tie them with 1st placed Fenerbahce. The injury of starting point guard Jordan Loyd is a big blow for the red and whites, but Monaco has great depth at the guard position and probably Elie Okobo will start alongside superstar Mike James. Monaco won it’s last 7 games in all competitions and we can say that no team arrives as a favourite when playing in Monaco.

Barcelona does not have a bad season by any means (they have an 8-4 record in the EuroLeague and with a win today will be tied for 2nd place with three other teams), but they lost 4 games in the last month, 2 in the EuroLeague and 2 in the ACB. Some of the wins were also by a narrow margin, so Barca is not really dominating the games. The last defeat was on Friday at home against Asvel Lyon, a game where Barca had a double-digit advantage in the 3rd quarter, but ended up losing the game by one point. As coach Sarunas Jasikevicius also pointed out after the game, Barca seems to be missing the killer instinct, not being able to close out games when leading. The only positive thing for the Blaugrana from this game would be the good performance of Nikola Mirotic. Last season’s EuroLeague MVP made his season debut two weeks ago and has been playing fantastic in every game since then.

The two teams have very different styles. Monaco is a better offensive team, scoring 84.3 points per game compared to 80.4 scored by the Catalan team. However, Barca is significantly better in defense, allowing only 76.9 ppg versus 81.3 received by Monaco.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: EuroLeague