Montpellier simply demolished Lyon last round. But to be honest it’s not that Montpellier were extraordinary but more like Lyon were miserable. That and the great form of Montpellier’s striker Montano led to a 5-1 trashing.
The exact same Montano who will be suspended for this game, forcing coach Fernandez to use either nerve wrecking Herrera or winger Camara as a striker.
This will significantly drag Montpellier back as they will have to rely only on attacking midfielders to convert any chances they may have.
There are however some good news for Montpellier as they may welcome back a number of players: midfielder Saihi could return after injury and fullback Bocaly also. But at the moment those are just possibilities and nothing is for sure. The only one returning will be fullback Jebbour. This means their defense will go back to normal with Hilton and Koutari in the center.
If Saihi won’t be back hosts may have some problems as midfielder Sanson is suspended and possible replacement Martin is a bit too offensive. Also fullback Tiene is still serving suspension.
The absence of striker Montano will compel coach Fernandez to use winger Bakar. For Fernandez this is a reason to celebrate as he just loves him from when they relegated Nancy together last season… Bakar should have stayed with Nancy in Ligue2 because honestly that’s where he belongs. He lacks speed, ball control, stamina, you name it. He only has good shooting power, but to exploit that you need other attributes as well.
Lille are on a roll. They completely dominate all opponents and push so hard that no average team can resist.
Defense is rock solid, as a matter of fact they haven’t conceded in 4 rounds, and even if central defender Basa is out injured experienced Rozehnal can successfully take over his tasks.
Gueye – Mavuba – Balmont went from disappointing (in the first rounds) to world class performances (past weeks). Even playmaker Martin started delivering assists, although I must be honest and admit that most of his decisive passes came from corners and I am yet to be impressed by Martin (I was impressed by him when he played at Sochaux, but at Lille is a different story).
Upfront Kalou is still the same slow but efficient and talented player, and Roux can be a pain sometimes but lately he’s been very pragmatic and successfully took all his chances.
Montpellier may be on top confidence following the trashing of Lyon, but I still believe there was a mixture of favorable circumstances that led to that result. It won’t be the same case this round against Lille. Lille Draw No Bet at 1.82 is very valuable, especially knowing that Montpellier may blindly adventure upfront due to their increased morale.