France Ligue 1 – St Etienne v Montpellier Preview (21/8/16)

ASSE-MHSC

St Etienne preview

Sainte were known for their bad injury situation at various times last season and already it looks to have hit them this term. Cheikh M’Bengue (LB), Bryan Dabo (RB), Benjamin Corgnet (CM) & the attacking duo of Romain Hamouma, Alexander Soderlund are all ruled out of this clash. Les Verts played away from home on Wednesday night in Israel, beating Beitar Jerusalem 2-1 which was an excellent result. Sainte had a good run in Europe last season and will always treat that competition seriously. They have the second leg to look forward to on Thursday. I don’t think they’ll be affected too much by this recent schedule but when injuries are starting to kick in, the opposition are likely to be fresher. In the ligue they started off with a defeat at Bordeaux (2-3) and played badly for an hour, falling behind 3-0.

Montpellier preview

MHSC weren’t exactly pretty last week but they managed to beat Angers 1-0 thanks to an early Ryad Boudebouz goal. There’s plenty of speculation he might leave the club before the end of this transfer window but for now he’s a Montpellier player and in the squad for tonight. Coach, Frederic Hantz has a full squad of players from which to choose and he’s been lucky they've suffered no injuries in pre season. Hantz is always a difficult manager to predict because he’s an adaptable coach willing to change his tactics from week to week. They didn’t look brilliant last week, but didn’t look bad either. The general mood around the place seems alright and on paper I’d expect them to be a fairly comfortable midtable sort of side.

Conclusion & betting analysis

I’m never one who takes much note of H2H meetings but Sainte really do have the wood on MHSC in recent years. Amazingly, the hosts have won the last seven fixtures between the two sides! In fact, Montpellier have only won 1 of the last 12 encounters, which was a lone victory in the year they won the title. This of course means nothing, I really don’t think H2H meetings should be considered in betting, except when it’s a big derby rivalry or when two bigger clubs meet. Nevertheless, clearly there’s something about St Etienne that Montpellier hate! I don’t think this will be a classic and things are shaping up to be a low scoring encounter. The tempo of affairs will probably be quite slow and if either team is to win, one goal would probably be enough. The goal line is set between 1.75 and 2 which looks pretty fair, as does St Etienne on a -0.25 handicap. I’ll leave this match alone and I’d say it’s just one to watch.

Prediction: 0-0
Recommended bet: None

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