France Ligue 1 – Metz v Montpellier Preview (21/1/17)

Metz preview

  • Les Grenats sit bottom of the table but have to be pleased with their draw at Nice last week (0-0). Arguably, they were the better team in that contest so have to take the positives out of the fixture
  • Metz have been unlucky that injuries to key attackers have derailed them this season. However, the trio of Jouffre, Erding & Lejeune are all fit and included in the squad for tonight which is a major boost.
  • New striker Cheikh Diabate is also in the squad for the first time. He is a big target man with a good scoring record in Ligue 1 and will give them an extra dimension upfront.
  • Metz have the worst home record in Ligue 1 but have produced some plucky performances here. They are actually unbeaten in their last three at Le Stade Saint Symphorien, although one stand will be closed again due to the violent incident which occurred against Lyon in early December.

Montpellier preview

  • MHSC are inconsistent at the moment and situated around the midtable mark. They somehow didn’t beat Dijon last week despite totally dominating the contest. They actually needed a late equaliser to avoid what would’ve been a harsh defeat.
  • Missing chances was a big problem and they’ll hope that new attacker on loan from PSG Jonathan Ikone might provide more clinicality in the final third of the field.
  • Key midfielder Morgan Sanson was sold to Marseille recently, leaving a big hole in this area of the field. Yacouba Sylla is on international duty so Montpellier are definitely a bit lightweight in the middle right now.
  • Centre back Daniel Congre and key playmaker Ryad Boudebouz are both still injured. New signing in defence, Nordi Mukiele from Ligue 2 side Laval is included in the squad for the first time.
  • Montpellier have yet to win away from home this season and possess just a 0-4-6 road record.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • The visitors might be winless on the road but that hasn’t stopped the bookies inserting them as -0.25 favourites here. Mez are a poor side but I don't really think MHSC deserve to be such clear favourites tonight.
  • They aren’t that great away and in all truth aren’t that great fill stop. The manager is under pressure from the president to improve results and would be sacked if they could afford to do it! The fans are however still firmly behind Frederic Hantz and he’s a very popular manager with them.
  • For me, the obvious bet is over 2.25 goals. With the exception of last week, most Metz games are wide open containing a lot of chances and goals. Both teams like to attack and will fancy their chances of getting three points today.
  • A couple of recent under games by Montpellier has disguised the true nature of their fixtures and perhaps raised the line and price slightly. Around about the 1.80 mark then I think this is a very acceptable bet.
  • Metz +0.25 wouldn’t be a bad value pick either, but I can’t trust the bottom side. They make too many mistakes and if Montpellier actually convert their opportunities then an away win could occur. I have a feeling Metz will obtain a rare victory though.

Prediction: 3-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.25 goals @ 1.82 (minimum odds acceptable 1.65)