MX23RW : Thursday, April 22 00:24:43| >> :600:278180:278180:
Apr 10, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade de la Mosson
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
Delort (1'), Laborde (47', 90+2')
Mollet (8'), Ferri (76')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Milik (43'), Gueye (45+1'), Perrin (71')
Thauvin (40'), Gonzalez (54')
Caleta-Car (62')

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

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

Montpellier HSC will aspire to extend their unbeaten run across all competitions to 13 matches when they welcome Marseille to the Stade de la Mosson for Saturday's Ligue 1 showdown.

La Paillade's most recent fixture saw them scrape past fourth-tier side Chateaubriant in the Coupe de France, while Marseille eased to a 2-0 win over basement side Dijon.

Match preview

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

A weakened Montpellier outfit simply could not find a way to break down minnows Chateaubriant in their midweek cup match, but a thunderous Florent Mollet free kick just after the hour mark was enough to propel La Paillade to a 1-0 victory as they booked their spot in the quarter-finals.

Michel Der Zakarian was understandably less than impressed with his side's performance, but he paid tribute to the fourth-tier side for their inspired showing against his crop, who have now strung together a remarkable 12-game unbeaten run across all tournaments.

Nine of those positive results have come in Ligue 1, although only one of their last five matches in the league has ended in success - a 3-1 win over Bordeaux - and Montpellier could not get the better of Angers last time out as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 stalemate.

However, Der Zakarian's team have taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer at the Stade de la Mosson - a marked improvement on home soil after their wretched run over the winter period - and the eighth-placed Paillade are still in contention for a European berth as they lie four points below fifth-placed Lens.

No team has managed to stop Montpellier finding the back of the net in their last eight home matches, but Der Zakarian's team are also yet to keep a clean sheet at the Stade de la Mosson in the current league campaign - defensive frailties which a revitalised Marseille will hope to exploit this weekend.

Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli pictured in March 2021© Reuters

Notwithstanding a disastrous day at Nice, Jorge Sampaoli has made a positive impression during his early days at Marseille, who comfortably returned to winning ways with a 2-0 triumph over the league's whipping boys Dijon last Sunday.

The Olympiens' defence took centre stage as Leonardo Balerdi headed in the opener before Alvaro Gonzalez scrambled home to double Marseille's lead in the second 45, and Sampaoli has steered his side to three wins from his opening four games in charge.

Marseille's recent successes have propelled them back into contention for a top-five finish, and Sampaoli's men now occupy sixth spot in the table - just one point below surprise package Lens - although all three of their victories under Sampaoli so far have come on their own turf, with their away form far more of a concern.

In order to maintain a charge for a European berth this week, Marseille must seek to end a nine-game winless run away from home - matching the previous unwanted record they set in the 2011-12 campaign - and they have failed to score in three of their last four league matches on the road.

However, Les Olympiens eased to a 3-1 victory over Montpellier back when Andre Villas-Boas was in charge in January, although they have failed to win any of their last three matches at the Stade de la Mosson - most recently succumbing to a 3-0 defeat in the 2018-19 campaign.

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D

Montpellier HSC form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Marseille Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Marseille form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

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Team News

Marseille's Duje Caleta-Car pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Montpellier had to make do without midfield lynchpin Teji Savanier for the Coupe de France win, but Der Zakarian expects to have him back available for this encounter.

Numerous changes from the victory over Chateaubriant will start with Jonas Omlin replacing Dimitry Bertaud in goal, while Junior Sambia, Daniel Congre and Nicolas Cozza should all return to the backline in place of Arnaud Souquet, Pedro Mendes and Mihailo Ristic.

Stephy Mavididi did not enjoy a fruitful night in midweek, but he has notched up five goals in his last six Ligue 1 matches and will once again link up with the equally dangerous pairing of Gaetan Laborde and Andy Delort.

Marseille will be lining up at the Stade de la Mosson without the injured Jordan Amavi, Yuto Nagatomo or Valentin Rongier, although Duje Caleta-Car is back from suspension.

Caleta-Car's expected return to the defence could push Hiroki Sakai back down to the bench, unless Sampaoli elects to field the Japan international on the left-hand side in place of Luis Henrique.

Dimitri Payet set up both of Marseille's goals against Dijon last time out, and the former West Ham United man is just three away from reaching the 100-assist mark in Ligue 1.

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

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Caleta-Car, Gonzalez, Balerdi; Lirola, Gueye, Kamara, Henrique; Thauvin, Milik, Payet

SM words green background

We say: Montpellier HSC 1-1 Marseille

Marseille just cannot seem to hack it on rival turf no matter who is in control of the reins, while Montpellier's home fortunes have dramatically improved in recent weeks. On the whole, the two clubs can feel positive about their end-of-season aspirations given their respective results, and the result of this game could have a major impact on the race for fifth spot, but Montpellier have demonstrated their affinity for draws and we can envisage another stalemate this weekend.

Top tip

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