MX23RW : Monday, August 2 14:31:35| >> :600:6021219:6021219:
May 2, 2021 at 4.05pm UK at Stade de la Mosson
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
St EtienneSaint-Etienne
Delort (6')
Benchama (80'), Der Zakarian (85'), Dolly (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Hamouma (16'), Debuchy (50')
Silva (47')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Montpellier HSC and Saint-Etienne, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Montpellier HSC could see any faint hopes of European qualification dashed this weekend as they prepare to welcome Saint-Etienne to the Stade de la Mosson for Sunday's Ligue 1 battle.

Michel Der Zakarian's side succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at Nice last time out, while Saint-Etienne also came away with zero points from their battle with Brest.

Match preview

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Not even the most ardent of Montpellier supporters could have envisaged their side's unbeaten streak continuing for the rest of the season, as Der Zakarian's men saw their 15-game run without defeat in all competitions come to an end against Nice last time out.

The Gaetan Laborde-Andy Delort combination worked wonders again as the former headed home with just three minutes on the clock, but Hicham Boudaoui, Alexis Claude-Maurice and Jean-Clair Todibo turned the game on its head to prevent Montpellier going 12 games unbeaten in the top flight.

With seven of Montpellier's 11 matches in their unbeaten run ending in draws, La Paillade's European hopes are hanging by a thread as they occupy eighth spot in the table - nine points adrift of the top five with four games left - and seventh-placed Rennes also boast an unassailable seven-point lead over Montpellier.

Der Zakarian therefore has to pray for a spate of slip ups from their European-chasing rivals if they are to stand any chance of finishing fifth, but anything other than a win would effectively kill off any hopes of Montpellier flying the French flag high in continental football next term.

La Paillade have managed to take 11 points from the last 15 on offer at home - winning three and drawing two of their last five - but their ageing rearguard is still without a clean sheet at the Stade de la Mosson all season, and they only have two more chances to end that atrocious run before the season concludes.

Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel pictured in February 2021© Reuters

The return to form of Wahbi Khazri is giving Saint-Etienne the best chance possible of finishing the season strongly, and the Tunisia international took just 11 minutes to capitalise on a defensive error and fire into the far corner against Brest.

However, his Pirates counterpart Gaetan Charbonnier soon stole the show as his thunderous free kick levelled proceedings after 66 minutes, and the 32-year-old netted a second late on to propel Brest to an unexpected win on Les Verts' turf.

Claude Puel's side had begun to build some momentum with two victories to kick April off on the right foot, but they were extremely unfortunate to end up on the wrong end of the scoreline at Paris Saint-Germain, and their confidence has now taken another hit as they aim to secure their Ligue 1 status.

Saint-Etienne should not be in any danger of relegation, though, as they sit comfortably in 14th - eight points above the bottom three - and they travel to Montpellier having won three of their last five on the road, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.

Stephy Mavididi's strike gave Montpellier a 1-0 win on Saint-Etienne's turf back in November, and Les Verts are winless and goalless in five against their upcoming opponents since a 1-0 triumph in April 2018, where the veteran Romain Hamouma bagged the winner.

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

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

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

Montpellier captain Hilton pictured in February 2017© Reuters

Inspirational Montpellier captain Hilton is still suspended after his red card against Canet Roussillon in the Coupe de France, so Nicolas Cozza should continue alongside Daniel Congre with Pedro Mendes out for the season.

Teji Savanier begins a two-match ban for comments made at half time during the draw with Marseille, and with Jordan Ferri struggling with an adductor issue, Joris Chotard and Damien Le Tallec should be given the nod in midfield.

Arnaud Souquet also remains sidelined, but Junior Sambia has established himself as Der Zakarian's first-choice right-back, while Delort will aim to score or assist a goal for the fourth league game in a row here.

Saint-Etienne will welcome Denis Bouanga back from a one-game ban, and a formation change could be in order to accommodate his return, meaning that Chelsea-linked starlet Lucas Gourna-Douath may drop out of the midfield.

Hamouma will also eye a return to the wings, with Arnaud Nordin's spot in jeopardy, but Puel should resist the temptation to make significant alterations for this clash.

Etienne Green will continue in goal as Jessy Moulin and Stefan Bajic remain out of contention, while Anthony Modeste and Yvann Macon will not play again until next season.

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Sambia, Congre, Cozza, Ristic; Chotard, Le Tallec; Laborde, Mollet, Mavididi; Delort

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Green; Debuchy, Moukoudi, Cisse, Trauco; Neyou; Hamouma, Camara, Aouchiche, Bouanga; Khazri

SM words green background

We say: Montpellier HSC 1-1 Saint-Etienne

Saint-Etienne could hit the all-important 40 point mark in this game and may be tempted to play for a draw, but that could prove costly against Laborde and Delort's deadly double act.

Der Zakarian has far more absentees than he would have liked, though, and Puel's side have shown positive signs in recent weeks, so we are tipping this one to end all square.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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United StatesUnited States22251764
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Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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