Last round away at Lille Lens managed to score first but still ended up with no points after a one sided encounter (lost 3-1).
Lens started the 2nd part of the season in force and even if results weren’t exactly positive they were delivering convincing performances and were dominating opponents from the lower half of the table. The constant rotation in the offensive department prevented players from achieving full potential and in midfield they relied exclusively on the actions carried by fullback Ball and midfielder Valdivia. When those two were out injured (it happened a few times) Lens played like amateurs. Slowly they abandoned the fight and considerably reduced rythm and nowadays they are just zombies.
Fullback Gbamin will return from suspension but there is a good possibility that 17 years old fullback Moore will start again after a good performance last round (even delivered an assist). On the other hand hosts will miss key midfielder Valdivia (suspended)
Montpellier imposed the rythm last week against Rennes but failed to find the net (ended 0-0). They don’t exactly have anything to fight for (Europa League is an unrealistic objective) and the lack of motivation is preventing them from making extra efforts.
The midfield is Montpellier’s major strength as players excel in ball control and vision. But when there is nothing to fight for players stop searching for ways to infiltrate inside the penalty box.
Coach Courbis will have to improvise a defense since 3 regulars will miss through suspension: fullbacks Dabo and Congre and central defender Hilton.
This could have been a perfect opportunity for Lens to get their 2nd win in 2015 but the lifeless playing style and Valdivia’s absence stand against a bet on home win.
UPDATE: Guests will also miss keeper Jourdren who was left outside the squad.
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ba, Boulenger, Gbamin, Landre, Lecoeuche, Moore, Sylla – Cyprien, El Jadeyaoui, Le Moigne, Chavarria – A.Coulibaly, Madiani, Touzghar
Montpellier: Ligali, Bertaud – Skhiri, Gissi, Tiéné, El Kaoutari, Deplagne – J.Marveaux, J.Martin, Lasne, Saihi, Wüthrich – Mounier, Bérigaud, Barrios, So.Camara, Bakar, Ribelin