Montpellier v Lyon – Stade de la Mosson at 16:00 live at BT Sport
No-one expected Montpellier to be anywhere near the top end of the Ligue 1 table, with most pundits expecting a bottom-half finish for La Paillade this season.
But 27 games into this season, they’re sitting pretty in fifth, just one place below this weekend’s opponents. Admittedly, the hosts are 11 points behind Lyon, but to achieve European qualification this term would be a massive overachievement for the club.
Montpellier sold Steve Mounie to Premier League newcomers Huddersfield in the summer and many people questioned where the goals would come from. But thanks to a tight defence and the ability to grind out good results against the top four teams in the league, they are dreaming of Europa League football next season.
Unlike the likes of Nice who have Mario Balotelli and Lyon who have Mariano Diaz, Montpellier don’t have a star striker, but they tend to share out the goals throughout the squad. Giovanni Sio is their main centre-forward but with only seven goals this season, manager Michel Der Zakarian also relies on the likes of Isaac Mbenza, Souleymane Camara and even Junior Sambia from midfield.
Lyon’s lethal attack
Unlike Montpellier, Lyon tends to pride themselves on their firing front line, which has seen them score 57 goals in 27 games.
When talking about the best front three European football, you could argue that the trio of Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traore and Mariano Diaz are up there with the best. With 40 goals between them, they’re in terrific form and will cause the Montpellier plenty of problems on Sunday – just as they have done to most other teams in Ligue 1 this season.
Nabil Fekir plays in the no.10 role amongst those three and is Lyon’s top scorer this season with 21 goals this campaign, but the Frenchman could be out of this encounter with a knee injury.
Another player on the injury list for Lyon is goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. The 27-year-old will have a late fitness test ahead of the match on Sunday. Back-up to Lopes is Mathieu Gorgelin, who played in the derby draw with St Etienne. He was debatably at fault for Mathieu Debuchy’s equaliser as he came out to stop Remy Cabella’s cross, which won’t instil confidence in the Lyon defence.
The betting angle
Despite Montpellier’s decent defensive record, I fancy goals in this one. Lyon has scored 33 goals in 14 away matches, including five against St Etienne and Nice. That’s an average of over two per-game and they’ll back themselves to score against Montpellier’s solid defence.
Four of Montpellier’s last five games in all competitions have featured Over 2.5 Goals, and I think this meeting on Sunday could follow suit.
Both of the last two games between these two at the Stade de la Mosson have produced three or more goals and a repeat is available at 2.110.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 Goals at 2.110
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