Lille had huge problems in the midweek Europa League game against Krasnodar (finished 1-1). The game was pretty balanced but the Russians had the best of chances and they were the ones opening the score in the 1st half.
Lille’s coach Girard preferred Lopes this time instead of Martin in the play-maker position. With young Lopes Lille look way better, they have more speed and creativity. But this choice of Girard may have been simply because he wanted to rest Martin for this game.
Last week for example Lille started against Nantes with Martin in the lineup. The first half was a disaster and only when Lopes entered the scene in second half everything changed (Lille won 2-0). Coach Girard may once again choose to start with Martin, case in which Lille will have problems at keeping the ball in midfield and creating scoring opportunities.
Montpellier made a good game last week against Lorient (won 1-0). Their game is getting better as round goes by. They build up play with confidence and patience using all the means available, short and fast passes, long balls and dribbling moves coming from key player Sanson.
Not only Sanson, but all midfielders seem to be in great form and coach Courbis has headaches in trying to pick the lineup.
Forwards Berigaud and Barrios seem to be the only ones performing below standards and most likely one of them will be sacrificed this round and Montpellier will start with 5 midfielders and only 1 striker.
The biggest question mark surrounding this encounter is Lille’s ability to control the midfield. Even with Lopes in the lineup Lille may fail to impose the rythm against Montpellier’s confident and in-form midfielders.
UPDATE: Lille are without forward Roux who is injured. Montpellier will miss midfielder Saihi and forward Barrios who are out injured.
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Corchia, Souaré, D.Sidibé, Basa, Kjaer, Rozehnal – Mavuba, Balmont, I.Gueye, S.Meité, Delaplace, R.Lopes, Mar.Martin – R.Mendes, Rodelin, Origi, Frey
Montpellier: Jourdren, Pionnier – Congré, Hilton, Tiéné, El Kaoutari, Deplagne, Jebbour, Saint-Ruf – J.Marveaux, J.Martin, Lasne, Sanson – Mounier, Bérigaud, Ribelin, Montaño, S.Camara