MX23RW : Saturday, April 17 00:24:36| >> :600:153675:153675:
Jan 30, 2021 at 4pm UK at Stade de la Mosson
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
1-2
LensLens
Wahi (78')
Mavididi (15'), Mendes (16'), Laborde (18'), Hilton (48')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Doucoure (7'), Kakuta (67')
Sotoca (51'), Banza (55'), Mauricio (83'), Haidara (90')

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

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

Two teams with previous ambitions of European qualification will be aiming to bounce back from respective defeats this weekend as Montpellier HSC welcome Lens to the Stade de la Mosson.

The hosts were thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain last Friday as their abysmal run continued, while Lens suffered an unexpected defeat to Nice in their most recent outing.


Match preview

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Montpellier were the architects of their own downfall against PSG, as goalkeeper Jonas Omlin was given his marching orders 20 minutes in for scything down Kylian Mbappe.

The floodgates opened soon after as Mbappe broke his goalscoring duck with the opener against Michel Der Zakarian's men, who then went on to concede three goals within the space of four minutes as Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Mbappe all struck in the second 45.

Montpellier were already up against it with 11 men on the field, and having also lost Florent Mollet to injury in the first half, their dismal evening in the capital epitomised their form over the past month.

La Paillade are now winless in seven matches - losing five of them - and as the only side in the top 15 without a single win from their last five, they have now slipped to 11th in the rankings ahead of the visit of Lens.

Der Zakarian has witnessed his ageing defence - marshalled by 43-year-old Hilton, 35-year-old Daniel Congre and 30-year-old Pedro Mendes - ship 18 goals in their last seven matches, and they are still waiting for their first clean sheet of the season on home soil.

Lens head coach Franck Haise pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Lens were never expected to be challenging for a spot in continental competition having just returned to the big time, and while they are still in with a shout of a top-six finish, a below-par performance against Nice did them no favours last weekend.

Fresh from a memorable 1-0 victory at Marseille, Franck Haise's men then lost by the same scoreline against Les Aiglons, who took the spoils thanks to Youcef Atal's smart finish in the 49th minute.

Once again, Lens' inconsistency has harmed their chances of a surprise appearance in Europe, but they are only five points off the pace as things stand, and Haise's men could temporarily rise as high as sixth this weekend if they win and Lyon beat Bordeaux on Friday night.

Sang et Or have only suffered two defeats from their last seven away from home - keeping a clean sheet on four occasions during that run - and there is certainly reason for optimism as they prepare to do battle with a Montpellier side plagued by injuries and suspensions.

However, Lens were the last team whom Montpellier managed to beat in the league, as Der Zakarian's men won 3-2 on unfamiliar territory last month.

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: DLLDLL

Lens Ligue 1 form: WLLDWL


Team News

Lens celebrate scoring against Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 on September 10, 2020© Reuters

Omlin has been handed a two-game suspension for his red card against PSG, meaning that Dimitry Bertaud - who did not perform badly whatsoever after his introduction - will have the chance to impress in between the sticks.

The ankle injury that Mollet suffered in Friday's thrashing is not thought to be serious, but he remains doubtful for this game, while Teji Savanier's suspension opens up a spot for Joris Chotard or the returning Jordan Ferri to deputise in the engine room.

Star striker Andy Delort sustained a thigh problem before the trip to the champions, but there is hope that the 29-year-old could return in time to face Dijon next weekend.

Lens have a suspension of their own to work around in the form of Jonathan Gradit, but Loic Bade is back in the fold following an ankle sprain and could make an immediate return to the fold.

Massadio Haidara is another option for Haise if Bade is not risked straight away, and Corentin Jean's return means that the visitors are almost fully-stocked for this game.

Jonathan Clauss could return to the right-hand side of Lens' midfield, while Seko Fofana should also come back in for Cheick Doucoure in the centre of the park.

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Souquet, Mendes, Congre, Hilton, Oyongo; Sambia, Ferri, Chotard, Ristic; Laborde

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Medina, Fortes, Haidara; Clauss, Cahuzac, Fofana, Boura; Kakuta; Sotoca, Ganago


SM words green background

We say: Montpellier HSC 1-2 Lens

Only bottom two sides Nimes (41) and Lorient (40) have shipped more goals than Montpellier (39) so far - a statistic which bodes well for Gael Kakuta and co this weekend. The hosts will continue to struggle for goals at the correct end of the pitch in the absence of Delort, and even though Lens still have problems of their own to iron out, we are backing the visitors to take the spoils and pile more misery on Der Zakarian.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data


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Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring for Paris Saint-Germain against Montpellier in Ligue 1 on January 22, 2021
Read Next:
European roundup: Mbappe nets brace in PSG win, Dortmund lose again
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG32213871234866
3MonacoMonaco32205767382965
4Lyon321810463313264
5Lens32141085144752
6Marseille32131094339449
7Rennes32139104035548
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Nice32127134142-143
10Metz32119123638-242
11Angers32118133447-1341
12Reims32913103838040
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne32109133647-1139
14StrasbourgStrasbourg32106164150-936
15Bordeaux32106163545-1036
16Brest32106164455-1136
17Lorient3288163858-2032
18Nimes3286183159-2830
19NantesNantes32513143249-1728
20Dijon3229212056-3615

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