France Ligue 1 – Montpellier v Angers Preview (13/8/16)

MHSC-ANG

Montpellier preview

MHSC have had a relatively quiet summer. So far there’s been more players leaving the club like Bryan Dabo & Jonas Martin. The only real replacement for anyone so far is right back Anthony Vanden Borre from Anderlecht. The majority of the squad is in tact and Frederic Hantz did well to ultimately save from relegation last season. Montellier actually won 4 of their last 5 games to put a gloss on what was otherwise a troublesome campaign. On paper, this doesn’t look the most talented of Ligue 1 squads, so Hantz will rely on other factors and good teamwork to be a competitive midtable force. With only one new player in the expected lineup, there’s a strong element of continuation and everyone should know each other really well. MHSC have no injuries tonight, but unusually the coach has only selected 16 players. Everyone else will be getting some action with the reserves, who kick off at roughly the same time.

Angers preview

The western outfit finished a highly respectable ninth last season which was an excellent return following promotion. Now they have to be careful of second season syndrome which can sometimes hit some clubs. The key to Anger’s success last campaign was a tight defence and hard working ability of the players. This was highly efficient until about February. After that, a lot of the players seemed to run out of steam a bit. They only won three matches after January, one of which was against hopeless Troyes. So Angers will need to be careful that they don’t start this season in a bit of a slump too. The squad has been reinforced in all areas which is good news, the most notable additions perhaps being strikers Karl Toko Ekambi & Famara Diedhiou. Both are big physical units who enjoyed plenty of success in Ligue 2 last season, so it’ll be interesting to see how they cope in the top tier. First choice goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier is going to be out for most of the season due to an ACL injury. This could be a weak spot for them with Denis Petric set to take over. The midfield duo of Romain Saiss & Thomas Mangani will both miss this match because of injury.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This was actually an opening day fixture last season and Angers won 2-0 on that occasion against all expectations. Montpellier got their revenge later on in the year, winning 3-2 in the reverse fixture. MHSC are a very similar price today compared to what they were in that aforementioned fixture in 2015. I’m not sure I’d be backing them @ about 1.90 though. Many times last season we saw Angers set themselves up very hard to break down away from home. Their backline will probably be quite solid once again and you have to respect the fact that the visitors won seven away games last year which is really impressive. I think this will be a tight match and a lot will depend if Montpellier can get ahead early. If they do then the game will open up. But on the opening day of the season when teams are a bit rusty it can take some time for offenses to get going. This feels quite a drawish fixture and something like 0-0 or 1-1 might be on the cards. I could maybe see Angers taking the lead from a set piece and Montpellier trying to get back into the match, eventually managing to equalise. From a betting point of view I’m not interested. It’s too risky to get involved in a match like this early in the season.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

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