Montpellier got surprised early last round, twice, and found it impossible to get back in the game.
Keeper Jourdren was not that inspired and his positioning and interventions at free-kicks, corners and long balls in general were simply disastrous.
Central defender Hilton (captain) missed last round and heavily diminished the defensive potential. Hilton will miss once again this round as he is suspended. Furthermore Montpellier will have 2 more suspended players, midfielder Marveaux and defender Congre.
Those 2 absences will affect primarily the defensive phase reducing the potential even more. The replacements are decent players, but way under the level of regulars.
Lately Montpellier haven’t been that active in the attacking phase, but in this rythm they are getting closer to the relegation zone. Usually at home they are more aggressive and against relegation candidates Montpellier should start the game very determined.
Valenciennes’ defeat last round was hard to swallow (lost 3-2 at home against Ajaccio). The taste is even more bitter as with only 5 minutes to go Valenciennes were leading 2-1.
Besides forward Waris, who scored again last round, all the other players seem a bit apathetic. Coach Jacobs really needs to improvise something, to give his players a motivational speech or a magic potion.
If the current configuration of the table will persist until the end of the season Valenciennes will go straight to Ligue2, so they definitely must do something about it.
Maybe the problem lies in central midfield where coach Jacobs changed both players (forced by circumstances) and didn’t return to normality once everyone was available again. This round we may see Enza-Yamissi and Ducourtioux starting again in central midfield.
Valenciennes never really scared anyone away from home so far, but a change in attitude is foreseen for this encounter.
Given Montpellier’s defensive absences and both sides’ determination to avoid relegation a fast paced game should be expected. Over 2.25 goals at 1.96
UPDATE: Montpellier welcome back midfielder Saihi and winger Ait Fana who haven’t played in a while. Valenciennes will miss striker Waris. Without Valenciennes’ most in-form offensive player the circumstances change dramatically. No bet now.
Montpellier: Pionnier, Jourdren – Bocaly, Tiéné, El Kaoutari, Deplagne, Jebbour – Saihi, J.Martin, Cabella, Sanson, Stambouli, Mounier – Mb.Niang, Aït-Fana, So.Camara, Tinhan, Deza
Valenciennes: Novaes, Penneteau – Ciss, Kagelmacher, Lala, Masuaku, Medjani, Nery – Da Silva, M.Dossevi, T.Doumbia, Ducourtioux, Enza-Yamissi, Houri, Melikson – Bahebeck, A.Le Tallec, Pujol