The Champions from the last 2 seasons open the 2013 – 2014 Ligue1 season.
Hosts have gone through big changes since they won the championship 2 years ago. But concentrating only on the differences in regards to the last season, first of all Montpellier have a new coach: Jean Fernandez.
Fernandez is the former coach of Nancy (now in Ligue2) and is directly responsible for ruining Nancy from all points of view. He loves defensive playing styles and his teams mostly rely on set pieces for scoring. Montpellier were known for the ingenious midfield that was able to create against all kinds of opponents. Well now Fernandez will kill that playing style.
Besides the coach change, Montepellier lost a couple of important players, in fact maybe 3 of their best players: offensive midfielders Belhanda and Utaka, and defensive midfielder Estrada.
Young and talented midfielder Cabella will be their hope this season. Most probably he will play having Camara on his right side (slow player without much inventivity) and Mounier on his left ( decent enough winger but never adapted at Montpellier). The burden of being the team leader may be too much for young Cabella and he may find himself overwhelmed by all the attention. This is no exaggeration as it already happened last season, when Belhanda and Utaka were out injured, all the balls were going through Cabella who soon forgot about teammates and focused only on long range attempts.
Upfront they will play with either Herrera or Charbonnier, 2 mediocre players that seem out of their league when playing in Ligue1. They also brought in Bakar (ex Nancy), but he won’t scare anyone.
At the back Montpellier will use the same fragile central defense Hilton – Kaoutari helped by always hesitant Congre on the right side and impatient Stambouli (he always falls for a simple line change) as defensive midfielder.
Hard times for Montpellier who may find themselves struggling with relegation woes (if enforcements don’t arrive) near the end of the season….
PSG were somewhat of a let down in the Supercup against Bordeaux. They won in the end but the display was not that convincing. Although they held possession and had a few dangerous attempts, what stood out was lack of patience. They were always in a hurry when trying to create, always wanting too much too soon. The pressure upon them is enormous this season, and every time they will be clear favorites we will see this kind of attitude, when players will try to satisfy everyone from the 1st minute.
It will be hard for them to achieve that, especially in the beginning of the season, when fitness lacks just like a proper rhythm.
Getting back to the game, midfielder Menez is suspended, but striker Cavani should play from the 1st minute after not being risked versus Bordeaux.
Even if it will take some time for PSG to find themselves, especially against a team that will defend in numbers with aggressiveness (Fernandez’s style), eventually guests will take complete control over the game. PSG evolved a lot since last season, while Montpellier only regressed.
However this won’t be a trashing, more like a 1-0, 2-0 PSG win. Guests to win at @ 1.90 (at the time of writing, will update with the odds movement) is a solid choice.