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Jan 29, 2022 at 8pm UK
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Preview: Marseille vs. Montpellier HSC - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Marseille vs. Montpellier HSC - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Coupe de France clash between Marseille and Montpellier HSC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Marseille and Montpellier HSC temporarily take a break from Ligue 1 action to renew hostilities in the last-16 of the Coupe de France at the Orange Velodrome on Saturday.

Les Olympiens head into this battle on the back of a crucial 2-0 victory at Lens in the top flight, while La Paillade scraped past Monaco 3-2.

Match preview

Rocked by the recent news of a FIFA-imposed transfer ban over their controversial Pape Gueye deal - which has also seen the midfielder suspended from competition for four months - Marseille are now under even more pressure to deliver on the pitch.

Jorge Sampaoli's crop have recovered from their dismal autumnal period of stalemates to establish themselves as one of the best of the rest this term, as a penalty from Dimitri Payet and a debut goal from Cedric Bakambu saw Les Olympiens sink Lens 2-0 last Saturday.

Marseille now find themselves sitting pretty in third in the Ligue 1 table - just two points off second-placed Nice with a game in hand - and with a five-point gap separating them from closest challengers Strasbourg, their Champions League destiny is firmly in their own hands.

Now, Sampaoli's men will push their continental charge to one side in their bid for a long-awaited Coupe de France title, with Les Olympiens seeing off Cannet Rocheville and Chauvingy already in the 2021-22 edition - scoring seven goals and conceding just one.

Not since 1989 have the 10-time Coupe de France champions gone all the way in this tournament - their most recent final appearance in 2016 ended in defeat to Paris Saint-Germain - and a record of just one defeat from their last 11 games on home soil stands them in very good stead.

Montpellier had seemingly thrown it all away during their clash with Monaco in Ligue 1 last week, as Elye Wahi and Stephy Mavididi saw their first-half strikes cancelled out by Wissam Ben Yedder and Vanderson before the game entered its final knockings.

However, within the first minute of second-half injury time, former Arsenal prospect Mavididi struck his second of the game after Nicolas Cozza's storming run to hand Montpellier their first Ligue 1 victory of 2022 and end a somewhat alarming two-game losing streak since the turn of the year.

The European charge is well and truly back on for Olivier Dall'Oglio's side following their return to winning ways - with La Paillade sitting sixth and one point behind fourth-placed Strasbourg - but a strong cup run would not go amiss either.

A pair of 1-0 victories over Andrezieux and Strasbourg have seen La Paillade make the last-16 for the third season running, but they were dumped out in the semis by PSG last season and have not reached the final since 1994 - most recently lifting the crown in 1990.

Marseille came up trumps by a 3-2 scoreline against Montpellier in the first gameweek of the current Ligue 1 season - their fifth game in a row without defeat against La Paillade - and not since August 2014 have Montpellier come up trumps at the Orange Velodrome.

Marseille Coupe de France form:
  • W
  • W

Marseille form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Montpellier HSC Coupe de France form:
  • W
  • W

Montpellier HSC form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

As well as Africa Cup of Nations representatives Gueye and Bamba Dieng - the former of whom would not have been able to feature anyway - Marseille will also be without midfielder Gerson as Brazil continue their World Cup Qualifying campaign, despite having already made it through.

Konrad de la Fuente missed the win over Lens due to reported muscular discomfort but could return in time for the cup clash, while striker Dario Benedetto has now completed a permanent move to Boca Juniors.

There should be scope for Sampaoli - who will not be on the touchline due to suspension - to rotate his resources despite the round and calibre of opposition, with Amine Harit taking advantage of Gerson's absence, while Sead Kolasinac may be handed his debut on the left.

As for Montpellier, creative hub Teji Savanier is still serving his suspension for violent conduct in the defeat to Troyes, while Jordan Ferri and Stephy Mavididi are also banned for an accumulation of yellow cards.

Ambroise Oyongo remains on AFCON duty with host nation Cameroon, while Maxime Esteve, Pedro Mendes and Thibault Tamas make up a trio of injury concerns for Dall'Oglio.

New signing Gabriel Bares could be thrown in for his debut to cover for the suspended Ferri, while Mavididi's absence opens up a spot for Nicholas Gioacchini to feature from the off.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Lirola, Saliba, Balerdi, Kolasinac; Kamara; Under, Guendouzi, Harit, Payet; Bakambu

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Sambia, Cozza, Sakho, Ristic; Mollet, Bares, Chotard, Gioacchini; Wahi, Germain

We say: Marseille 2-0 Montpellier HSC

The manner of Montpellier's smash-and-grab win over Monaco was wholly impressive in the absence of Savanier, but with two-goal hero Mavididi now missing as well, La Paillade's cup journey is set to end here.

Marseille can afford to dream of Coupe de France glory while they remain well clear of the Champions League-chasing pack in Ligue 1, and despite some expected rotation, Sampaoli's bountiful resources ought to get the job done convincingly.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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