Ligue 1 play continues on Saturday for both Montpellier and Monaco after each have put their league play on hold for cup matches for the last week or so.
Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, France
Key Stat: Montpellier have never beaten Monaco.
Expert Verdict: Monaco have absolutely ran roughshod over Montpellier in the past, and that is something that doesn't look like it will be stopped soon. The principality side might be off the pace in the title race this time around, but they are still quite the team of young and dynamic stars and that will see them continue their run over the hosts.
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Michel Der Zakarian has no injuries or suspensions ahead of this match against Monaco.
Montpellier have really had to scratch and claw this season to get to where they are without a true go-to player as of yet. One of the closest that they have had so far is wing back Jerome Roussillon. The Frenchman has two goals and has also assisted three times so far to offer a double threat to them going forward, and he could be crucial both on the attack and defensively here.
Montpellier have three wins, a draw, and a loss in their last five matches:
0-1 win at Angers (Coupe de la Ligue)
1-1 draw, penalty win at Pontarlier (Coupe de France)
0-2 win at Bordeaux
1-3 home loss vs Metz
4-1 home win vs Lyon (Coupe de la Ligue)
Defenders:Aguilar, Mukiele, Hilton, Congre, Roussillon
Midfielders:Sambia, Lasne, Skhiri, Ikone
Leonardo Jardim is missing winger Gabriel Boschilia due to injury. Defender Terence Kongolo has been loaned out to Huddersfield Town, so he will play no role here.
One of the most widely talked about players now after the transfer of Philippe Coutinho is winger Thomas Lemar of the principality side. The young Frenchman offers so much in attack with the ability to dribble, shoot from range, and pass exceptionally well. All of that along with frightening pace, and it makes him a wanted man. But for now he's at Monaco, and he will be their man to keep an eye on coming from out wide.
Monaco have wins in each of their last five matches:
1-2 win at Nice (Coupe de la Ligue)
2-5 win at Yzuere (Coupe de France)
2-1 home win vs Rennes
0-4 win at St. Etienne
2-0 home win vs Caen (Coupe de la Ligue)
Defenders:Sidibe, Glik, Jemerson, Raggi
Defensive Midfielders:Moutinho, Fabinho
Attacking Midfielders:Balde, Lemar, Diakhaby
After 32 matches, Montpellier are still looking for their first win over Monaco. Monaco have won 22 times so far and there have been ten draws. Here's a look at the last five results:
Sep 29, 2017: Monaco 1-1 Montpellier
Feb 7, 2017: Montpellier 1-2 Monaco
Oct 21, 2016: Monaco 6-2 Montpellier
May 14, 2016: Monaco 2-0 Montpellier
Sep 24, 2015: Montpellier 2-3 Monaco
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Montpellier are at 12/5 to win, a draw is at 9/4, and a Monaco win is at 23/20.
Montpellier come into this match in seventh in the Ligue at the moment. They have more draws than anything (eight), but they have fought toward the upper half of the table anyway and have 26 points right now. They are seven clear of Lille in the relegation scrap, so they appear to be able to be a lot more free than some other teams are. Monaco are in second place at the present time in spite of all of the departures from last season's squad. However, they are still nine points off the pace of PSG. They have won four in a row, though, to give them some optimism.
La Paillade's home record has been nothing to write home about. They have just 13 points from ten matches there so far, including three wins and four draws (surprise!). Only ten goals scored shows they have issues getting goals, so if they give up one to Monaco it could be a long day for them at the office. They have only one point from their last two matches there. Monaco have done well away from home. But this is where they have fallen behind PSG. They have taken 16 points from nine matches via five wins and a draw, but that has held them back in the title race. They still score on average twice a match away from home and won their last match away, but it has proven much tougher for them.
A no for both teams to score is at 20/23 via Ladbrokes.
Montpellier got a big point away to Monaco last time they met in September, but this match looks like it will be much tougher for them. Both teams are on a decent run, but Monaco are playing exceptional football and should take all three points this time.