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Ligue 1 | Gameweek 31
Apr 26, 2024 at 8pm UK
Stade de la Mosson

1 - 1

Adams (2')
Savanier (24'), Tchato (45')
Mincarelli (90+1'), Nordin (90+5')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Abline (7')
Sissoko (45+5')

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

:Headline: Preview: Montpellier HSC vs. Nantes - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's Ligue 1 clash between Montpellier HSC and Nantes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Taking a welcome trip away from their headquarters, Nantes resume their quest for Ligue 1 survival at Montpellier HSC's Stade de la Mosson on Friday evening.

The hosts are on the cusp of achieving mathematical safety, while Les Canaris were condemned to a horrific ninth home defeat in a row last time out.

Match preview

An end-of-season surge has virtually extinguished any Montpellier fears of a relegation dogfight in the final few games of the season, and Paillade fans can rest easy knowing that another year in the big time will be theirs barring a French footballing miracle.

Michel Der Zakarian oversaw a third win from four games at Reims' Stade Auguste-Delaune home last time out, where Modibo Sagnan's header crossed the line by a hair despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Yehvann Diouf, and Emmanuel Agbadou's equaliser only preceded an 86th-minute Mousa Tamari winner.

The March international break ostensibly came at the perfect time for Der Zakarian's troops, who have taken 10 points from 12 on offer since the hiatus, posting back-to-back 2-0 wins over Le Havre and Lorient prior to a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw with Ligue 2-bound Clermont.

Now sitting pretty in 12th place with 36 points, Montpellier are eight points clear of Le Havre in the relegation playoff spot and 10 better off than 17th-placed Lorient, although Les Merlus' game in hand means that La Paillade will not quite guarantee survival on Friday night.

However, with Le Havre heading to champions-elect Paris Saint-Germain this weekend, Der Zakarian's men should have no fears about slipping into the bottom two between now and May, and they host Nantes aiming to score multiple goals at home for the fifth match running.

Friday's visitors could certainly use a few pointers when it comes to asserting their dominance on familiar soil, as the discontent Stade de la Beaujoire crowd witnessed their Canaris crop lose at home for the ninth time in a row in all tournaments during last weekend's visit of Rennes.

Antoine Kombouare's troops got to the 67-minute mark without having their net breached, but the floodgates opened in the final quarter of the contest, where Arnaud Kalimuendo's finish, Benjamin Bourigeaud's penalty and Amine Gouiri's tap-in subjected Nantes to that all-too familiar sinking feeling at home.

Rennes' strength in depth was to thank for their late show - Julien Stephan had the luxury of bringing Bourigeaud and Gouiri off the bench - and Nantes therefore still have some work to do to guarantee top-tier status, sitting 14th in the rankings with a five-point gap to the drop zone and three-point advantage over Le Havre in 16th.

In spite of their persistent home failures in 2024, Les Canaris have found the recipe for success on the road with four wins from six away games in 2024 - defeating Le Havre, Nice, Lorient and Toulouse in that time - while also drawing with Reims and suffering just one loss to Marseille.

Nantes can also take encouragement from their recent exploits against Montpellier, whom they have beaten in three of their last four Ligue 1 contests, including a 3-0 success at the Stade de la Mosson last year and 2-0 home win in October, before the walls of their fortress came crashing down.

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form:

Nantes Ligue 1 form:

Team News

Montpellier had to cope without the services of midfield fulcrum Jordan Ferri against Reims - the 32-year-old was banned on account of being booked three times in the space of 10 matches - but he has served his time on the naughty step and is available again.

Ferri could now reprise his midfield role alongside another mainstay in Joris Chotard, thereby demoting centre-back Becir Omeragic - who deputised in midfield last time out - down to the bench.

The only fitness concern for Der Zakarian to work around is left-back Theo Sainte-Luce, whose thigh injury is likely to keep him out until next month, but the hosts otherwise have a full squad available.

As Montpellier welcome a midfielder back to their ranks, Nantes have lost one, as former Brazil youth international Douglas Augusto picked up an unspecified injury in the loss to Rennes and came off midway through the first half.

Augusto was able to gingerly walk off the pitch, but his expected absence will likely force Kombouare into a reshuffle here; Moussa Sissoko began in an advanced role last time out, but the ex-Tottenham Hotspur man should now fill the midfield void as either Marcus Coco or Abdoul Kader Bamba start on the right.

Influential attacker Moses Simon has already been ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken foot, while Tino Kadewere (calf) and Bastien Meupiyou (knee) are keeping him company in the medical room.

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Lecomte; Hefti, Kouyate, Sagnan, Sylla; Ferri, Chotard; Nordin, Savanier, Tamari; Adams

Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Amian, Castelletto, Pallois, Duverne; Sissoko, Chirivella, Moutoussamy; Coco, Mohamed, Mollet

We say: Montpellier HSC 2-0 Nantes

Nantes' abysmal streak of home results and impressive endeavours on the road are most peculiar, and Les Canaris have also had the better of their hosts in recent times, but they now face a Montpellier side riding the crest of a wave.

Ruing the absence of a key attacking cog in Simon, Nantes' purple patch away from home should count for little against the in-form Paillade, who have their own difference-maker in Teji Savanier capable of causing chaos against any opponent.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Premier League Table
CParis Saint-GermainPSG342210281334876
12Montpellier HSCMontpellier341012124348-541
15Le HavreLe Havre34711163445-1132
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