Even if they won, Lille ‘s performance at Ajaccio last round was really disappointing (Lille won 3-2). The referee was Lille’s 12th player and only thanks to him they managed to take all the points (2 invented penalties).
It’s not only about last round, but for a couple of weeks already Lille seem to have lost confidence and create less chances than usual. In defense they also concede more than average and this should ring some alarm bells.
Last round midfielders Mavuba and Balmont got out injured and there are no updates on their situation. Mavuba even missed France’s midweek international game. Both of them are doubtful for the clash with Montpellier.
There’s only one good news for Lille, the good form and grown morale of forward Kalou, who scored his first hat-trick for Lille last round. But even so, it’s not possible in any way for Kalou to increase his speed because of the good display last week. He is too slow and has clear problems when up against compact defenses (like Montpellier have).
Lille will miss fullback Soumaoro who is suspended, but will welcome back fullback Souare after fulfilling his suspension.
Montpellier were dominated last round away at Lyon, but it was also a strategy they willingly chose (ended 0-0). Central midfielders Stambouli and Marveaux constantly provided support for defenders making it hard for Lyon to find any open spaces. The difference was made by Montpellier’s offensive players who constantly participated in the defensive phase (maybe except striker Niang) and refused to take any risks . This is in fact why the game finished in a goalless draw.
There’s a high possibility for the game against Lille to develop in the same manner. Furthermore, it can be even more boring since Lille have a reduced creative power.
The game will be tactical and physical more than anything. The unbalanced odds can’t be justified in any way judging by recent performances.
UPDATE: Lille will have to do without captain Mavuba.
Lille: Enyeama, Elana – Sidibé, Kjaer, Basa, Rozehnal, Y.Koné, Souaré – Balmont, Gueye, Delaplace, Meïté – Kalou, Rodelin, Roux, Origi, Ruiz, R.Mendes
Montpellier: Pionnier, Jourdren – Congré, Hilton, Tiéné, El Kaoutari, Deplagne, Assoumin – J.Marveaux, J.Martin, Cabella, Sanson, Stambouli – Mounier, Mb.Niang, Tinhan, So.Camara, Montano