MX23RW : Wednesday, April 14 22:46:43| >> :600:262984:262984:
Feb 28, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stade Auguste Delaune
ReimsReims
0-0
MontpellierMontpellier HSC

Dia (81')
FT

Hilton (64')

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

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

Montpellier HSC will be aiming to win their fourth game on the bounce in Ligue 1 when they travel to Reims for Sunday afternoon's Ligue 1 showdown.

The hosts, meanwhile, are winless in five across all competitions and have one last chance to pick up three points in the month of February.


Match preview

Reims manager David Guion pictured in October 2020© Reuters

February has been nothing short of a terrible month for Reims, who have played out three draws and two losses after a spate of impressive results between December and January.

With Boulaye Dia now struggling to find his shooting boots having gone seven games without a goal in the top flight, Reims have struggled to dominate matches without their main man firing on all cylinders, although they were minutes away from taking all three points at Saint-Etienne before Charles Abi salvaged a point for the hosts last weekend.

Substitute El Bilal Toure took it upon himself to head in the opener after just 12 minutes on the pitch, so while Dia's place up top is under no immediate threat, David Guion may be tempted to rethink his attacking options if the 24-year-old's fortunes do not improve soon.

The hosts have only lost one of their last six outings in Ligue 1 and have conceded just twice in that run, but failure to convert draws into wins sees them sit 13th in the table - seven points clear of the drop zone and eight adrift of the top half - although their home record speaks for itself ahead of the visit of Montpellier.

Indeed, Guion's men boast a league high of seven games unbeaten on familiar territory and have shipped just 12 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune all season - the third fewest behind Paris Saint-Germain and Lille - although a resurgent Montpellier will prove a true test of Reims' mettle.

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Montpellier's recent revival can only be matched by 17th-placed Nimes, who are the only other team in the top flight to have taken nine points from their last three matches.

Michel Der Zakarian's men had previously struggled to perform during Andy Delort's initial absence, but La Paillade have coped perfectly well without their star striker in recent weeks and enjoyed a 2-1 success over an out-of-sorts Rennes on home soil last Sunday.

Stephy Mavididi ended a goal drought stretching all the way back to December with both of his side's strikes on the day, and even though Rennes' Serhou Guirassy broke his own duck late on, Montpellier got over the line to keep any slim hopes of a European charge alive.

Having taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer in the top flight, Montpellier have risen to ninth - only two points behind fifth-placed Lens - after pulling themselves out of their winter rut, and their last away game ended in a historic 2-1 win at Lyon.

However, Reims enjoy taking to the field against Montpellier as they have won their last four against La Paillade in all competitions, including a resounding 4-0 triumph at the Stade de la Mosson earlier in the campaign, and there has never been a draw in this fixture on Reims' turf.

Reims Ligue 1 form: WWDLDD
Reims form (all competitions): WDLLDD

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: LLDWWW
Montpellier HSC form (all competitions): LDWWWW


Team News

Wout Faes is booked for Reims against Monaco in Ligue 1 in August 2020© Reuters

Reims midfielder Xavier Chavalerin was suspended for the draw with Saint-Etienne but is back here, meaning that Guion could revert to his tried-and-tested 4-1-4-1 for this game.

Chavalerin's return might see Nathanael Mbuku reprise his regular role out wide in place of Dereck Kutesa, although Moussa Doumbia is pushing for inclusion after coming off the bench to assist fellow substitute Toure last time out.

Mathieu Cafaro is also expected to force his way back into the first XI for this game, while Yunis Abdelhamid is nearing a comeback from a hamstring problem and may return to the heart of defence.

Montpellier's normally reliable Teji Savanier missed a penalty five minutes before succumbing to a knee injury against Rennes, although he has reportedly been training as normal since and should be fine for the weekend.

Delort continues to rehabilitate from his groin problem, while Mihailo Ristic is nearing a return but this game will likely come too soon for him.

With Ambroise Oyongo having just departed on loan to FK Krasnodar, Nicolas Cozza is likely to continue at left-back for now.

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Foket, Faes, Abdelhamid, Konan; Munetsi; Cafaro, Chavalerin, Berisha, Mbuku; Dia

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


SM words green background

We say: Reims 1-2 Montpellier HSC

Dia's alarming drop in form has to end at some point, and Montpellier's ageing defence has not been renowned for their clean sheet record this term. However, the visitors are excelling in all departments amid their impressive turnaround in fortunes, and in spite of the fact that Reims thrashed them earlier in the season, we expect Der Zakarian's men to avenge that defeat with a fourth consecutive win here.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data


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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille32209353193469
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG32213871234866
3MonacoMonaco32205767382965
4Lyon321810463313264
5Lens32141085144752
6Marseille32131094339449
7Rennes32139104035548
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier321210105253-146
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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