Montpellier took everyone by surprise last round after winning away at Rennes 4-0.
All offensive players made a great game but winger Mounier was by far the most impressive one.
He created many actions on the left side, delivered numerous key passes (one of which was an assist) and even managed to score. Lately Camara was preferred to start upfront due to the increased playing appetite, but coach Courbis must have noticed Barrios’ good form in training sessions and started with him in the lineup. It was a good choice as Barrios was very active, delivered an assist and also scored a goal.
Due to the overall good mood midfielder Sanson recovered his confidence and we could once again see efficient and impressive dribbling moves.
There is no way but up for Montpellier as long as they keep up the fast paced rythm.
Lens got a late equalizer last round against Lille but it was fully deserved. They held more possession and had the best of chances but once again failed to be constant in efforts. Predictability is also a major problem as most of Lens’ actions are initiated by fullback Baal and are carried on the left side with the help of a central midfielder and a winger. If Lille would have had more creativity and confidence in the offensive department they would have easily won the game, instead they withdrew after taking the lead and equalizer was unavoidable.
Lens will welcome back Touzghar, Chavarria and El Jadeyaoui, all of them offensive minded players.
Until now Montpellier used to rely mostly on the solid defense and simply invited opponents to take charge. But things are different now since the attacking players are in excellent condition and their attempts won’t be shy anymore. Lens may play a bit better than what their current position in the table suggests, but they are no match for in-form and confident Montpellier. Montpellier -0.75 at 2.07
UPDATE: Montpellier’s fullback Tiene was left outside the squad. Guests’ forward Chavarria hasn’t recovered and was joined by defender Kantari on the sidelines.
Montpellier: Pionnier, Ligali – Congré, Hilton, El Kaoutari, Deplagne – J.Marveaux, J.Martin, B.Dabo, Lasne, Sanson, Saihi – Mounier, Bérigaud, Barrios, So.Camara, Bakar, Ribelin
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ab.Ba, Baal, Cavaré, Gbamin, Lecoeuche – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, B.Sylla, Valdivia, El Jadeyaoui – Ad.Coulibaly, Guillaume, Madiani, Touzghar