Angers v Montpellier – Stade Raymond Kopa at 19:00
Montpellier have risen to second in the Ligue 1 standings after stunning Marseille with a superb 3-0 success at their Stade de la Mosson home. Top scorer Gaetan Laborde starred with two goals to leave head coach Michel Der Zakarian delighted with La Pallade’s plight.
Speaking post-match, the Montpellier manager said, “I’m very happy to be in second place and to have gone fourth on the attacking table, even though our first half was tough, as we were wasteful. But we showed a lot of quality; we were aggressive and scored some very nice goals.”
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Der Zakarian was particularly pleased as his team bounced back from Coupe de la Ligue elimination with a third consecutive win in an unbeaten run that now stands at 11 league matches (W7-D4-L0) since the opening day. La Pallade’s summer signings are starting to settle and performances strong and stable.
Damien Le Tallec’s presence in midfield has given Ellyes Skhiri more freedom and Florent Mollet’s creativity has fuelled the physical dynamism of Andy Delort and Laborde. They have all impressed at various points in their careers, but their work-rate and talent has perhaps never been used as effectively as by Der Zakarian right now.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for a club that narrowly avoiding the drop in 2016/17. Saturday night’s away side were much more comfortable the last term, although we’re far from fluent and entertaining, posting a divisional-high 18 stalemates and 29 winning Under 2.5 Goals selections.
Summer tweaks appear to have done the trick for Montpellier, who remain as defensively stubborn as ever – giving up the third-fewest quality opportunities per-game in Ligue 1 – along with a sprinkling of stardust in the offensive areas. La Pallade have only fired one blank, whilst keeping seven shutouts.
Considering their eye-catching improvements, I’m surprised to see Der Zakarian’s outfit available to support at 1.82 with a scratch 0 start on the Азиатский гандикап line. This selection would see us our stake returned should the game end all-square and with Montpellier losing just twice in 14 at bottom-half dwellers, they’re bound to at least be competitive at Angers.
Angers are overseen by long-term boss Stephane Moulin but his side are on the slide after regressing in each of the past three campaigns. The hosts have triumphed in three of their first 11 fixtures, and arrive at Saturday’s showdown following a gut-wrenching late 4-3 loss at Sainte-Etienne.
That defeat has left Angers marooned in the bottom-half and with the home side winning just once in their last 13 games against top-half teams since the start of last season on home soil, I’m happy to oppose them here.
Азиатский гандикап Recommendation: Montpellier DNB at 1.820
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