Bastia held more possession than Guingamp last round but unfortunately they couldn’t find any solutions to open up opponents (Guingamp won 1-0).
Most of the passes were between defensive players and most of Bastia’s offensive actions were created through long balls. Ayite played in the striker position and he is not exactly bursting with talent to be able to stop the ball, turn around and place a shot in a couple of seconds. In these conditions opponents have an easy task when it comes to intercepting the ball.
Striker Cisse showed increased playing appetite in the Cup game against Auxerre last week (scored twice) but coach Makelele left him on the bench last round. Cisse played for only 20 minutes but his form and confidence were already diminished.
In defense Bastia were a bit hesitant with central defender Squillaci making many mistakes, from wrong clearances to bad positioning, and with fullback Palmieri often leaving his position on the left flank.
The game between Montpellier and Evian last week was very balanced and the final score may be a bit unjust (Montpellier won 2-0). Montpellier once again relied on the solid central defenders El Kaoutari and Hilton for rejecting all incoming actions.
Montpellier’s defense is really impressive and furthermore the support from midfielders is constant and always on time.
Upfront it seemed that Montpellier changed strategy and concentrated mostly on attacking the down the flanks. There were many actions carried on the wings with fullbacks Tiene and Deplagne often engaging in combinations with midfielders and taking opponents out of play. This tactic paid off regardless striker’s Barrios lack of form.
Montpellier aren’t exactly thrilled when they need to dominate and apply constant pressure. On the contrary, they simply love to let opponents take initiative and rely on their strong defense for keeping a clean sheet. Bastia look like the perfect kind of victims because of their need for points and offensive impotence. Montpellier DNB 2.25
UPDATE: Bastia welcome back fullback Marange but winger Maboulou will sit out through injury.
Bastia: Areola, J-L.Leca – Modesto, D.Diakité, Palmieri, Squillaci, Peybernes, Marange, Romaric – Gillet, Cahuzac, Pino, Vincent, Boudebouz, F.Ayité – Ongenda, D.Cissé, Kamano, Tallo
Montpellier: Jourdren, Pionnier – Congré, Hilton, Tiéné, El Kaoutari, Deplagne – J.Marveaux, J.Martin, Lasne, Sanson, Saihi – Mounier, Bérigaud, Barrios, Montaño, So.Camara, Bakar