MX23RW : Monday, May 10 01:50:50| >> :600:101687:101687:
Apr 25, 2021 at 12pm UK at Stade Municipal du Ray
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
FT(HT: 0-4)
Laborde (3'), Boudaoui (6'), Todibo (39'), Claude-Maurice (40')
Mollet (56'), Boudaoui (59'), Wahi (66')

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

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

Seeking to bounce back from a humiliating defeat to whipping boys Dijon, Nice welcome Montpellier HSC to the Allianz Riviera on Sunday lunchtime.

In contrast, the visitors go into this game on the back of Coupe de France success having beaten Canet Roussillon 2-1 in the quarter-finals on Tuesday night.

Match preview

Nice manager Adrian Ursea pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Many wondered whether Dijon would claim a win on home soil before their seemingly imminent relegation to Ligue 2 is confirmed, but the league's basement side did so in impressive fashion against a woeful Nice last Sunday.

Fouad Chafik's thunderous effort preceded a Yassine Benzia penalty in the second half to propel Dijon to a 2-0 success over Nice, whose six-game unbeaten streak ended in disastrous fashion at the Stade Gaston Gerard, and they now have very little to play for at this stage.

Les Aiglons had won four and drawn two before defeat to Dijon to keep their slim hopes of European qualification alive, but they now languish in 10th place and are 10 points off the top five with five games left to play, so another season of mid-table mediocrity is in order for Ursea's side.

Ursea did not hold back when analysing his side's performance against Dijon, and he will be demanding an immediate reaction here as Nice aim to secure a third win in four at home, where they have kept back-to-back clean sheets against Marseille and Reims in recent weeks.

Nice have not failed to score in three consecutive Ligue 1 matches since December 2015, but an injury to star striker Amine Gouiri - one which kept him out of the loss to Dijon - could yet hamper their ambitions of a successful end to the campaign.

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Montpellier's Coupe de France triumph over minnows Canet Roussillon was not pretty by any stretch, but Michel Der Zakarian's 10 men eventually prevailed through two goals from none other than Andy Delort after the fourth-tier side drew first blood through Toufik Ouadoudi.

Der Zakarian may be tempted to prioritise cup success, but his side are still in with a chance of a fifth-placed finish and a route into continental competition, and a respectable 1-1 draw with leaders Lille last time out sees them sit six points adrift of the European spots.

Montpellier have now managed to navigate their last 15 games unbeaten across all competitions - including their last 11 in the top flight - and while that statistic may look impressive at a first glance, six of their last seven Ligue 1 fixtures have ended with the points shared.

La Paillade's only league win since the start of March was a 3-1 home success over Bordeaux, and they travel to the Allianz Riviera on a four-game drawing streak away from home in the league, and their last three on the road have all finished 1-1.

However, Montpellier would certainly accept a draw here as they bid to equal their longest-ever unbeaten run in the top flight (12 in 1992 and 1997), but they have suffered defeat in their last four trips to Nice and have not beaten their opponents away from home since the 2011-12 season.

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

Nice form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

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

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

Team News

Montpellier captain Hilton pictured in February 2017© Reuters

Nice's main man Gouiri succumbed to a calf problem before the trip to Dijon and will not be ready for this game, while Khephren Thuram is also expected to miss out with an injury in the same area.

However, Algerian teammates Youcef Atal and Hicham Boudaoui were both fit enough to come off the bench last time out, and the two players could be in line for starts here as Ursea tries to find a winning formula.

Jordan Lotomba should keep his spot in the team as Atal features further forward, while Pierre Lees Melou's spot in the middle is under threat from Boudaoui, but Dante and Jeff Reine-Adelaide remain out.

Ursea has also confirmed that Myziane Maolida will miss the rest of the season as he prepares to undergo surgery on pubalgia, so Rony Lopes may be forced to switch flanks.

Der Zakarian has lost two centre-backs in Montpellier's last two matches, with Pedro Mendes rupturing his ACL against Lille while captain Hilton will serve a suspension after his sending off in the cup.

Nicolas Cozza should therefore move into the heart of defence as Mihailo Ristic earns a recall to the left-hand side, although 20-year-old Clement Vidal is another option for the visitors.

Teji Savanier has been slapped with a two-game ban for remarks made at half time against Marseille on April 10, but the sanction does not take effect just yet and he is fine to play this weekend.

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Lotomba, Saliba, Todibo, Kamara; Schneiderlin, Boudaoui, Claude-Maurice; Atal, Dolberg, Lopes

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

SM words green background

We say: Nice 1-1 Montpellier HSC

With Gouiri injured and Kasper Dolberg failing to fire on all cylinders, it is difficult to see where the goals might come from for Nice, but they may fancy their chances against a Montpellier side without their two of their first-choice centre-backs.

Der Zakarian opted for a near full-strength side in the Coupe de France and his players are likely to be feeling the effects of that gruelling evening, but 15-goal Delort is always capable of producing the goods, so we can envisage yet another stalemate for Montpellier here.

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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