Friday night's game against Bastia couldn't have gone any better for Monaco. A comfortable 3-0 win and no injuries.
On Friday evening, Monaco enjoyed a perfect warm-up for Tuesday's vital clash with Arsenal in the Champions League. Faced with a potentially tough clash with SC Bastia, the side from Corsica all but lay down and let Monaco trample all over them.
For 20 minutes, Bastia held strong and were trying to pass the ball around with confidence, but Anthony Martial's 22nd minute goal opened the floodgates.
The young striker had just forced a saved from Alphonse Areola, Bastia didn't clear the ball and Nabil Dirar was able to throw in a cross from the right. Despite the slight deflection, it found Martial at the back post and the young striker volleyed into the net.
Ten minutes later, Drissa Diakite was unfortunate to see red when he pulled down Matheus; it was definitely a penalty, which Layvin Kurzawa would see saved by Areola, but to class him as the last man, was a suspect decision.
Bastia coach Ghislain Printant admitted after the game, as reported by Ligue1.com, that his side were not up to the task:
"It was a difficult evening for Bastia. I have to congratulate Monaco, who were able to deprive us of possession and were much better than us. I think we were too nice, we were partners not opponents. We stood off them a lot. We lacked aggression, even if we finished with nine men. It's bizarre, but it's the reality. We didn't play like a team fighting to stay up. We had a promising first 15 minutes, but after that we totally switched off and conceded the first goal. After that, it became tough. Monaco did not have to dig deep to put us in difficulty."
Matheus added a second before half-time and Monaco's job was all but complete.
Joao Moutinho had started the move for the second goal and the Portuguese midfielder was the architect for the third just six minutes into the second half. Lifting the ball over the Bastia defence, he picked out Matheus and the Brazilian squared across goal for Martial to add his second and Monaco's third.
As Monaco Coach Leandro Jardim admitted, his team didn't have to exert too much effort into the last third of the match:
"It's the perfect evening. The team played well and produced a great display, creating a lot of chances. We didn't need to use a lot of energy in the last 30 minutes, that's good. The Bastia team that knocked us out of the Coupe de la Ligue was more aggressive. After the first red card, it was easier for us."
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Geoffrey Kondogbia watched from the stands, Jardim hopes they will be back for Tuesday; he was also able to bring off Fabinho and Martial unscathed in the second half.
Monaco couldn't have asked for a better warm-up before meeting Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, the London club's task was already difficult; it has not been made any easier.