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Aug 8, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
Peres (30' og.), Laborde (34')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Under (68'), Payet (75', 80')
Peres (44')

Preview: Montpellier HSC vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Montpellier HSC vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Montpellier HSC and Marseille, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The first competitive game of the Olivier Dall'Oglio era at Montpellier HSC takes place on Sunday, as La Paillade open their Ligue 1 campaign against Marseille at the Stade de la Mosson.

The hosts claimed an eighth-placed finish under the tutelage of Michel Der Zakarian last term, while Marseille's revival under Jorge Sampaoli propelled them to a fifth-placed finish and a spot in the Europa League.

Match preview

The old guard have moved on, Der Zakarian has now taken control of the reins at Brest, and in something of a managerial swap deal, Dall'Oglio has swapped Les Pirates for La Paillade as he endeavours to take them back to the promised land of European football.

Garnering a reputation for free-flowing attacking performances during his time at Brest, Dall'Oglio's appointment ought to spell further success for the deadly double act of Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde, but his Brest side ended the season with 64 goals conceded - the fourth-worst in the division - as well as scoring a half-century at the correct end of the field.

While Montpellier gleaned an eye-catching 2-1 win over RB Leipzig in pre-season, the rest of their exhibition period was nothing to write home about, as La Paillade suffered confidence-sapping defeats to Sete, Clermont and Metz over the summer.

La Paillade turned heads with their 11-game unbeaten league run between February and April earlier this year, but far too many of those encounters ended in draws for them to seriously challenge for Europe - something Dall'Oglio has been brought in to rectify.

Winnable fixtures against Reims and Lorient also lie in wait for Montpellier before the end of August, who only suffered one defeat in their final seven home games last season, but Marseille's rejuvenated squad are on the hunt for early success.

After Andre Villas-Boas departed the club in acrimonious circumstances, Sampaoli took it upon himself to assume office at the Orange Velodrome and take Marseille back to where they belong, although the Europa League is not quite the continental competition that the club's impassioned fanbase desire.

It appeared for a short while that Marseille would miss out on European football entirely, but Sampaoli - employing his highly effective 3-4-3 system - managed to string together a consistent enough set of results to pip Rennes and newly-promoted Lens to fifth spot in the table.

Les Olympiens' summer has been characterised by a number of high-profile incomings - namely the loans of Arsenal duo William Saliba and Matteo Guendouzi, as well as permanent deals for Gerson and Konrad de la Fuente - and Marseille also navigated seven pre-season games without suffering a single defeat.

The most recent of those encounters saw Sampaoli's men claim a 2-1 success over Europa League winners Villarreal - who did have Juan Foyth sent off on the day - but there is increasing optimism that this new-look Marseille squad could be the ones to bring Champions League football back to the south of France.

However, Marseille only claimed a solitary win from their last 13 Ligue 1 games of the season away from home, and their most recent trip to the Stade de la Mosson to face Montpellier ended in an enthralling 3-3 draw.

Montpellier HSC pre-season form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Marseille pre-season form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Ex-Montpellier captain Hilton has finally hung up his boots at the age of 43, while his veteran centre-back partner from last season, 36-year-old Daniel Congre, is now on the books at Dijon.

The hosts' defensive ranks have also been depleted with the departures of Damien Le Tallec and Clement Vidal, while Pedro Mendes continues to recover from a devastating ACL tear, but former Liverpool and Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho has signed on the dotted line.

First-choice goalkeeper Jonas Omlin is also out with the ankle issue which forced him to miss Euro 2020, while Florent Mollet is suspended and Teji Savanier is a major doubt after returning from the Olympics with a hip injury.

While Marseille's incomings may be making all the headlines this summer, the club have also waved goodbye to a hefty contingent of players, including Florian Thauvin, Valere Germain, Hiroki Sakai and Maxime Lopez.

Of the players to arrive at the club in the summer, Saliba, Guendouzi and Gerson are all in with strong chances of starting roles this weekend, while Boubacar Kamara should be available after a coronavirus scare.

However, Roma loanee Pau Lopez (shoulder), Arkadiusz Milik (knee) and West Ham United-linked Duje Caleta-Car are not expected to play, while Valentin Rongier could be forced to play out wide as Sampaoli has no recognised right-back in the ranks.

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Souquet, Thuler, Esteve, Cozza; Chotard, Ferri, Sambia; Laborde, Delort, Mavididi

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Saliba, Balerdi, Peres; Rongier, Guendouzi, Gerson, Henrique; Under, Payet, De La Fuente

We say: Montpellier HSC 1-3 Marseille

Despite losing a proven goalscorer in Thauvin, Marseille are building something special, and such a positive set of pre-season results has only increased the optimism in Sampaoli's ranks.

Delort and Laborde are capable of breaching almost any defence in France on their day, but Dall'Oglio's pre-season has not gone according to plan, and we can only back this new-look Marseille to get off on the right foot with a dominant success.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away 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/Away:data

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