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Oct 18, 2020 at 2pm UK
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
Ben Yedder (70' pen.)
Pellegri (73'), Geubbels (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mavididi (51')
Souquet (90+5')
Savanier (19')

Preview: Monaco vs. Montpellier HSC - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Monaco vs. Montpellier HSC - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Monaco and Montpellier HSC, including team news and predicted lineups.

Fifth meets sixth in Sunday's Ligue 1 encounter as Monaco welcome Montpellier HSC to the Stade Louis II for gameweek seven.

Both sides went in to the international break following defeats in gameweek six, with Monaco losing to Brest 1-0 while Montpellier fell to defeat to Nimes by the same scoreline.

Match preview

Brest are a side on form at the moment and were certainly not to be underestimated before their showdown with Monaco, who ultimately succumbed to their second defeat in three against Les Pirates earlier this month.

Romain Faivre's eighth-minute strike was the only goal to be had on the day as Monaco missed the chance to capitalise on Montpellier's defeat, and Niko Kovac's side remain in sixth as the domestic campaign prepares to get underway again.

Les Monegasques also lost out in a heavyweight clash with Rennes in gameweek four and only just managed to come out on top in a five-goal thriller with a struggling Strasbourg side at the end of September, so Kovac will be hoping that his players return from the international break feeling refreshed and raring to go again in Ligue 1.

If Paris Saint-Germain were to suffer a shock defeat against Nimes on Friday, Monaco would break into the top four with victory against Montpellier, and Kovac's men will certainly be expected to win in the wake of coronavirus-related mayhem at Montpellier over the past couple of days.

Montpellier - looking to avoid a third game without a win in the French top flight - had been ravaged by a coronavirus cluster which saw eight players and four staff all return positive tests on Friday morning.

However, a further statement released by La Paillade the same evening confirmed that 10 of the 12 who initially returned positive tests have since tested negative, meaning that manager Michel Der Zakarian - believed to be one of those affected - should not be presented with too many selection dilemmas.

Montpellier's showdown with Monaco was thrust into the realms of uncertainty following the news of the outbreak, but Sunday's showdown is set to go ahead as scheduled now that only one player and one staff member were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive in a second round of testing.

A number of fringe players would have been holding out for the chance to impress at short notice, but with a near full-strength contingent available to assistant manager Pascal Baills - set to take the reins in place of Der Zakarian - the visitors are set to be firing on all cylinders at the Stade Louis II.

Monaco enjoyed a 1-0 victory in this fixture last season - their first league victory against Montpellier since 2017 - but La Paillade stormed to a 3-1 win at home.

Monaco Ligue 1 form: DWWLWL

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: LWWWDL

Team News

Monaco defender Axel Disasi will serve the second of a two-match ban for the visit of Montpellier, so 18-year-old Chrislain Matsima can look forward to another start alongside Benoit Badiashile.

Aurelien Tchouameni was forced to miss out the loss to Brest but is set to return to the middle of the park here, potentially in place of Sofiane Diop, while Henry Onyekuru will be vying for a recall to the left flank.

Aleksandr Golovin is still sidelined with hamstring trouble, while Fode Ballo-Toure is doubtful with a broken toe.

Meanwhile, the eight players reported to have initially returned positive coronavirus tests at Montpellier were Jonas Omlin, Dimitry Bertaud, Hilton, Nicolas Cozza, Pedro Mendes, Daniel Congre, Teji Savanier and Andy Delort, but it is only Mendes who tested positive a second time.

As a result, Montpellier's fears of a decimated defence have been eradicated and Mendes is set to be replaced in the heart of defence by Cozza, who will line up alongside Hilton and Congre in front of Omlin.

Monaco possible starting lineup:
Lecomte; Aguilar, Badiashile, Matsima, Ballo-Toure; Tchouameni, Fabregas, Fofana; Volland, Ben Yedder, Onyekuru

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Hilton, Congre, Cozza; Souquet, Le Tallec, Ferri, Oyongo; Savanier; Laborde, Delort

We say: Monaco 2-1 Montpellier HSC

Had Montpellier been forced to field a makeshift lineup for Sunday's clash, the game would have been a foregone conclusion before the first whistle blew. The visitors will not have Der Zakarian barking instructions from the touchline on Sunday, and Montpellier are sure to be affected in some capacity by all of the midweek commotion, so we are still tipping Monaco to nick a win here.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data

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