Christophe Galtier's ideal start to life with Les Aiglons continued last week with a 2-1 success over Nantes, whereas Monaco fell to a 2-0 defeat against Marseille.
While it is still far too soon to be discussing potential top-four challengers and European contenders, ex-Lille manager Galtier has harnessed all of his title-winning glory from last term to turn Nice into a force to be reckoned with in the 2021-22 season.
The crowd trouble in their suspended match with Marseille does represent an early blot on the notebook, but Nice's fortunes on the pitch continued in the same vein with a 2-0 success over Nantes last weekend, with Kasper Dolberg and Amine Gouiri unsurprisingly finding the back of the net.
With a tally of 10 goals scored and none conceded from their opening four matches this term, Nice have quickly risen into the top four of the rankings as the only side with a perfect defensive record this term, but their docked point from the Marseille fiasco sees them remain adrift of Les Olympiens at this stage.
Galtier's Lille prised themselves on resolute defensive performances en route to title glory last season, so it is no surprise to see Les Aiglons' rearguard benefitting from the arrival of the 55-year-old, and Nice - incredibly - are the only team in the top five leagues yet to concede this term.
Adrien Ursea's reign at the back end of last season may not be all that memorable, but the Romanian coach did oversee a positive run at the Allianz Riviera, meaning that Nice play host to rivals Monaco having lost just one of their last eight matches on home soil.
Having struggled to juggle domestic and European commitments since the first week of the season, Monaco headed into their home clash with Marseille regarded as underdogs by some, and Niko Kovac's fears came true as Les Olympiens marched to a 2-0 win.
Marseille had to make do without experienced attackers Dimitri Payet and Arkadiusz Milik, but 21-year-old striker Seny Dieng stole the show with both goals at the Stade Louis II, firing home the opener in the 37th minute before a delightful turn and finish on the hour mark.
Monaco's dismal league fortunes this season are well-documented - with Kovac's men sitting in a lowly 16th place after five games - but their Europa League campaign began on the right foot in midweek, as Krepin Diatta scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 success over Sturm Graz.
The deadly double act of Kevin Volland and Wissam Ben Yedder saw Monaco keep pace with the title-chasing pack for most of last season, but Kovac's side only have three goals to boast from their five Ligue 1 games so far this term - the worst return in the league alongside Nantes and Rennes.
Monaco did manage to claim a pair of 2-1 victories over Nice in the 2020-21 season and have lost just two of their last 14 Ligue 1 games on the road, but their hosts are a different beast this season while Kovac attempts to rally his dispirited troops for a tantalising derby.
Nice defender Jordan Lotomba returns from a ban this weekend and is set to do battle with Youcef Atal for a spot at right-back, with Flavius Daniliuc unlikely to hold his place from the win over Nantes.
New arrival Andy Delort came off the bench to set up Gouiri's strike last weekend, and the Algerian attacker should earn a start here as Gouiri shifts over to the left flank.
Kovac has no other injury concerns to deal with but is sure to shuffle the pack considerably from Thursday's game, starting with Benoit Badiashile and Caio Henrique potentially replacing Strahinja Pavlovic and Ismail Jakobs in defence.
Ben Yedder was restricted to a substitute appearance in midweek but will hope to displace Wilson Isidor here, while Youssouf Fofana and Aleksandr Golovin will expect to earn recalls to the first XI as well.
Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Lotomba, Todibo, Dante, Bard; Boudaoui, Rosario, Lemina, Gouiri; Dolberg, Delort
Monaco possible starting lineup:
Nubel; Aguilar, Maripan, Badiashile, Henrique; Golovin, Fofana, Tchouameni, Diop; Ben Yedder, Volland
We say: Nice 2-1 Monaco
Nice's defensive resilience has to be broken at some point, and a hotly-contested derby would be the ideal occasion for Monaco's attackers to dust off their shooting boots after a much-needed European win.
However, the arrival of Delort has only added to the hosts' own firepower in the final third, and with no midweek fatigue for Galtier to contend with, we can only back Nice to take the spoils in this encounter.
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