MX23RW : Sunday, April 18 02:48:43| >> :120:34474:34474:
Feb 3, 2021 at 6pm UK at Stade Saint-Symphorien
MetzMetz
1-1
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
Sarr (47')
Boye (9'), Leya Iseka (33'), Maiga (74'), Centonze (76'), Bronn (82'), Ambrose (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Laborde (70')
Congre (58')

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

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

Following three straight wins, hosts Metz meet Montpellier HSC at Stade Saint-Symphorien on Wednesday, aiming to extend their five-game unbeaten streak since the turn of the year.

Meanwhile, Michel Der Zakarian's visitors are winless in eight league outings and have subsequently sunk into the bottom half of the Ligue 1 table.


Match preview

Frederic Antonetti pictured in charge of Lille in April 2016© Reuters

Since his return to the Metz dugout in October, Frederic Antonetti - one of the most charismatic coaches in the French game - has overseen a renaissance in the Lorraine club's fortunes. The 59-year-old Corsican has certainly shifted from his role as general manager back to the top job, in place of his old assistant Vincent Hognon, to great effect.

Five clean sheets in their last eight matches have helped propel Les Grenats into a top-half position, as Antonetti has instilled defensive discipline into the team - their record of conceding 20 goals in 22 matches so far is only bettered by the division's top three sides - Lille, Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain.

After stunning Lyon 1-0 a fortnight ago, Metz have since enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Nantes and beaten Brest 4-2 away from home - when they only had around a third of possession - thereby extending their unbeaten streak this year to five.

Despite top scorer Ibrahima Niane succumbing to a serious knee injury just days after Antonetti's appointment in the autumn, Metz now sit sixth, on 34 points. While Niane remains the club's top scorer with six goals, followed by Farid Boulaya with five and Aaron Leya Iseka on four, their ongoing defensive frugality has seen them exceeding expectations.

The previous Ligue 1 fixture with Montpellier saw Metz triumph 2-0 at Stade de la Mosson in December and Les Grenats have, in fact, remained unbeaten in the sides' last three meetings.

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Montpellier suffered a 2-1 home defeat against Lens in their last Ligue 1 outing on Saturday, extending their current winless streak to eight with only two points earned during that spell.

Their recent travails have seen Michel Der Zakarian's men slide down to 11th place, now six points behind Wednesday's opponents.

Though hitting the net has rarely proved a problem for the 2011-12 league champions - with Andy Delort scoring on nine occasions to date - Montpellier have leaked more than 40 goals, worse even than second-bottom Dijon, who they will face on Sunday.

Der Zakarian's ageing defence - marshalled by 43-year-old Hilton and 35-year-old Daniel Congre have conceded 20 goals in their last eight matches, and they are yet to post a first clean sheet of the season on home turf.

On their travels though, Montpellier have picked up a respectable four wins and three draws from ten games, but have stumbled into a three-match winless streak away from home.

In search of their first league victory in meetings between these two sides since February 2018, Montpellier will be desperate to halt their disastrous start to 2021 with a long overdue win on Wednesday evening.

Metz Ligue 1 form: LDDWWW

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: LLDLLL


Team News

Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Metz coach Frederic Antonetti has been successfully managing a considerable list of absentees, with Habib Maiga, Vincent Pajot, Opa Nguette, Kevin N'Doram, and long-term injury victim Ibrahima Niane all unavailable last time out.

Ivory Coast midfielder Maiga may be ready for a return though, with the hosts otherwise expected to name a settled side in front of goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja, who was statistically one of Europe's top stoppers of 2020 and accounts for much of Metz's defensive solidity.

For the visitors, Swiss goalkeeper Jonas Omlin was handed a two-game suspension for his red card against PSG, so Dimitry Bertaud will have the chance to continue as Montpellier's last line of defence.

The ankle injury that Florent Mollet suffered last week ruled him out of the Lens game and his participation remains in doubt, while Teji Savanier's return from suspension means that Joris Chotard could drop out of the first XI.

Star striker Andy Delort has been suffering with a thigh problem and while there is hope that the Algeria international could return in time to face Dijon next weekend, he may not be fit to start on Wednesday.

Metz possible starting lineup:
Oukidja; Bronn, Fofana, Boye; Centonze, Angban, Sarr, Udol; Boulaya; Leya, Ambrose

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Sambia, Mendes, Congre, Hilton, Oyongo; Dolly, Ferri, Savanier; Laborde, Mavididi


SM words green background

We say: Metz 1-1 Montpellier HSC

Two teams on very different trajectories meet on Wednesday, with the hosts growing used to the previously rare position of favourites.

Despite boasting one of the league's best defences up against one of the worst, Metz may be held to a draw this time, as Montpellier's losing streak surely must end soon.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away 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/Away:data


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Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring for Paris Saint-Germain against Montpellier in Ligue 1 on January 22, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG32213871234866
3MonacoMonaco32205767382965
4Lyon321810463313264
5Lens32141085144752
6Marseille33141094641552
7Rennes33149104335851
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Nice32127134142-143
10Metz32119123638-242
11Angers33118143450-1641
12Reims32913103838040
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne32109133647-1139
14StrasbourgStrasbourg32106164150-936
15Bordeaux32106163545-1036
16Brest32106164455-1136
17Lorient3388174061-2132
18Nimes3286183159-2830
19NantesNantes32513143249-1728
20Dijon3229212056-3615

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