MX23RW : Friday, April 23 01:14:15| >> :120:14843:14843:
Feb 13, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade de Gerland
LyonLyon
1-2
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
Paqueta (45+1')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Savanier (20'), Wahi (65')
Ristic (49')

Preview: Lyon vs. Montpellier HSC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Lyon and Montpellier HSC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Lyon will endeavour to return to the top of the Ligue 1 rankings when they welcome an improving Montpellier HSC to the Groupama Stadium for Saturday's showdown.

Both teams secured their passages into the next round of the Coupe de France in midweek, as Lyon thrashed Ajaccio while Montpellier overcame fellow top-flight outfit Strasbourg.


Match preview

Lyon head coach Rudi Garcia pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Five goals from five different goalscorers propelled Lyon to a resounding victory over a beleaguered Ajaccio in the Coupe de France, with Memphis Depay, Houssem Aouar, Rayan Cherki, Maxwel Cornet and new arrival Islam Slimani finding the back of the net on the night.

Despite ringing the changes, Rudi Garcia would have expected nothing less from his relentless charges in Tuesday's game, with that result representing Lyon's fifth triumph in a row across all competitions.

Barring two underwhelming performances against Rennes and Metz - which have harmed their title charge - Lyon have been simply unplayable since the turn of the year and remain second in what is one of the most exciting title races in recent Ligue 1 history.

With Depay (13), Karl Toko Ekambi (11) and Tino Kadewere (9) forming one of the most formidable attacking tridents in the league, Lyon have notched up 25 goals in their last 10 top-flight outings, and a half-century of strikes is the second best record in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign behind reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Another three points against Montpellier would see them rise to the summit before Lille take on Brest on Sunday, although Lyon could also be temporarily usurped by third-placed PSG, who take on Nice a few hours prior to Les Gones' clash with a resurgent Montpellier.

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Montpellier ended a nine-game winless run by overcoming Dijon 4-2 in Ligue 1 last weekend, and they won back-to-back matches for the first time since November by claiming another confidence-boosting win in the Coupe de France over Strasbourg on Wednesday night.

Andy Delort came back from injury with a bang by breaking the deadlock on the night with his 10th goal of the campaign, and a rare strike from Petar Skuletic made sure of the victory in the dying embers of the match, with the pressure on Michel Der Zakarian's shoulders temporarily eased for the time being.

It comes as no shock that Montpellier's below-par results coincided with Delort's absence from the team, but with the influential 29-year-old now back in the fold, La Paillade - who occupy 11th spot - can now focus on heading in the right direction and stop looking over their shoulder.

However, a late charge for Europe is probably out of the question for Montpellier, who are winless in four top-flight away matches and without a clean sheet in 12 on any turf in the league - only basement side Nimes have endured an equally poor defensive run recently.

Nevertheless, Der Zakarian's men did manage to eke out a 2-1 win over Lyon at the Stade de la Mosson back in September, and Lyon have only been able to register a solitary win in their last six meetings with La Paillade in Ligue 1.

Lyon Ligue 1 form: DLWWWW
Lyon form (all competitions): LWWWWW

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: DLLLDW
Montpellier HSC form (all competitions): LLLDWW


Team News

Lyon's Jason Denayer celebrates with teammates after scoring against Rennes on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Lyon midfield lynchpin Thiago Mendes was suspended for the Coupe de France win but is in line for an immediate recall to the engine room here, while Aouar is also set to return after netting as a substitute against Ajaccio.

Jason Denayer remains sidelined with a thigh problem, but the hosts otherwise have no fitness concerns ahead of this bout, and Garcia will inevitably welcome some big-hitters back to the first XI.

Toko Ekambi and Kadewere will return to the frontline despite the goals of Slimani and Cherki in the cup, while Marcelo and Leo Dubois are expected to man the rearguard once again.

Montpellier defender Pedro Mendes is also back from a ban this weekend, but Der Zakarian appears to have settled on Hilton and Daniel Congre - who have a combined age of 78 - as his first-choice pairing in the heart of defence.

Mihailo Ristic was an unused substitute against Strasbourg but should return at left-back with Ambroise Oyongo nursing a sprained ankle, and Junior Sambia could also return on the opposite side.

Montpellier enjoyed a successful spate of results when Delort, Gaetan Laborde and Stephy Mavididi lined up as a front three earlier in the season, and it would not be a surprise to see Der Zakarian return to his tried-and-tested system now that Delort is fit again.

Lyon possible starting lineup:
Lopes; Dubois, Marcelo, Diomande, Cornet; Mendes, Aouar, Paqueta; Kadewere, Depay, Toko Ekambi

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Sambia, Hilton, Congre, Ristic; Chotard, Savanier, Mollet; Laborde, Delort, Mavididi


SM words green background

We say: Lyon 3-1 Montpellier HSC

Lyon have not been able to get the better of Montpellier very often in seasons gone by, and Der Zakarian's men now look capable of stringing a set of respectable results together following two wins on the bounce. However, the merciless hosts are expected to prove too strong for a fatigued Paillade, and we cannot envisage any other result than a dominant home victory.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG33223874254969
3MonacoMonaco33215770383268
4Lyon331910465323367
5Lens33141185245753
6Marseille33141094641552
7Rennes33149104335851
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Metz331110123638-243
10Nice33127144144-343
11Reims33914103838041
12Angers33118143450-1641
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne33109143850-1239
14StrasbourgStrasbourg33107164251-937
15Brest33107164556-1137
16Bordeaux33106173548-1336
17Lorient3388174061-2132
18Nimes3387183260-2831
19NantesNantes33513153351-1828
20Dijon3339212256-3418

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