There is no doubt regarding Montpellier’s biggest weakness in the first part of the season. The lack of offensive power made it almost impossible for Montpellier to win any games.
As a matter of fact Montpellier only managed to win 2 games out of 19. If at the back they were somewhat decent, upfront extra efforts were needed from all midfielders in order to open up opponents. [restrict paid=true level=1]Unfortunately for them, most of the times all their efforts proved to be in vain.
In order to combat the lack of attacking power Montpellier transferred in young striker Niang, who was dusting the bench at Milan. Niang is only 19 and due to an unjustified media frenzy about 2 years ago, he managed to land a contract at Milan after his team Caen relegated in Ligue2. He was also dusting the bench at Caen…
A 19 years old kid regarded as a savior, especially after he scored in the Cup game against neighborhood club Rodez from penalty… now that’s an achievement…
Anyhow most probably Niang will be a regular from now on. Sad days from Montpllier who were playing in Champions League last season…
Central defender Hilton should return after missing the Cup game against minnows Rodez.
Surprisingly Monaco conceded twice in the Cup against Vannes (won 3-2). Maybe they underestimated the opponent because Monaco’s defense is one of the strongest in Ligue1 with Abidal and Carvalho in the center. Not to mention the constant support provided by central midfielders Toulalan and Obbadi.
Offensively Monaco improved as they transferred in striker Traore from Anzhi. I don’t think they will start using 2 strikers, and Traore will be more of a rotation player. Falcao was injured in the first part of the season for a couple of rounds and Monaco relied only on mediocre Riviere and inexperienced Martial. Now with Traore there’s a better alternative.
Monaco struggle a bit against teams that concentrate in defense, like it happened in the final rounds of 2013 against Ajaccio or Valenciennes. But Montpellier have a different mentality, they are more offensive, even if in reality that’s their weakest point.
Montpellier with inexperienced and talentless Niang upfront will struggle in vain to open up Monaco’s solid defense. Montpellier’s central midfielders won’t have the power to both take part at the creation phase and prevent fast and talented players like Rodriguez, Moutinho or Carrasco from creating dangerous chances.
Odds on Monaco keep on dropping ever since the game opened. At 1.87 Monaco to win is still a valuable bet. Take it now before it drops further.[/restrict]