It will be the 2nd time this week these teams will meet, after a Cup game. That game was won in extra time by Sochaux but the result is pretty irrelevant and should not constitute the basis of any analysis.
Hosts are going through an injury crisis now. They have no competitive defensive midfielders available. Satmbouli and Saihi are out injured, same as Pitau. They will have to start with Dabo and Deplagne, clearly under the level expected for French title holders.
That’s not all, the attitude of defender Congre doesn’t stop in sinking the team. He’s too superficial in interventions, and actually because of this shallow attitude Montpellier lost last round in the dying moments.
The same old issue up the field where they lack a decent striker. Only offensive midfielders used to carry Montpelier on their shoulders, players like Utaka, Cabella, Camara and Belhanda. Now Belhanda is away on international duty, Camara is clearly out of form, and the other two just can;t compensate for everything, they are only human you know…
After the winter break Sochaux look upgraded. It’s not necessarily about their skills, but about the attitude and determination. They’ve had (still have) their share of bad luck this season. Plagued by injuries and suspensions in many games they;ve looked like sure victims. Only by will Sochaux managed to keep away from relegation places.
One player that impressed in particular is Mikari. He’s a defender at origins, but acts more like an offensive midfielder. He’s everywhere on the field, and the great thing is that teammates began to follow his example. There are always more yellow shirts (Sochaux’s color) everywhere on the field.
They are truly a united group, all players think and act like one, this is Sochaux’s major strength. They will welcome back two midfielders: Lopy after suspension and Nogueira after injury.
Not related in any way to the result from the Mickey Mouse Cup, guests have the upper hand here. They want the points more than Montepellier does, and this will make all the difference. Although double chance on Sochaux can be a bit dangerous, a handicap bet (+1.5) should pay.