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Jan 23, 2022 at 12pm UK
MetzMetz
0-2
NiceNice

Kana-Biyik (45+1'), Salif Mbengue (55'), Ndiaga Yade (57')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Thuram (58'), Gouiri (86' pen.)
Rosario (64')

Preview: Metz vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups

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

High-flying Nice will be looking to secure their fifth successive Ligue 1 victory when they face a resurgent Metz outfit at the Stade Saint-Symphorien on Sunday lunchtime.

The hosts have claimed the joint-fewest number of points on home soil this season (seven), while no other team have won as many away matches in the French top flight than Nice this term (eight).


Match preview

For the first time since mid-September, Metz are sitting outside the relegation zone after their crucial 1-0 win away at Reims last weekend.

After a goalless first half, the deadlock was broken when Ibrahima Niane headed in from a tight angle just after the hour mark, which proved to be the winning goal for the visitors.

Frederic Antonetti's men seem to have found their form at the right time after accumulating seven points from their last 12 available and moving two points above the relegation playoff position.

Metz have now won four Ligue 1 matches this season, one of which was in the reverse fixture against Sunday's opponents Nice, who they beat 1-0 in November last year thanks to Fabien Centonze's first-half strike.

Antonetti will unfortunately not be in the dugout this weekend for his 600th Ligue 1 game as a manager, as he is to serve a one-game touchline ban, but the 60-year-old will be hoping that his side can at least mark the occasion with another three points, as Les Grenats aim to steer themselves further away from danger.

Metz, however, will come up against Ligue 1's in-form side Nice, who have won each of their last four matches, scoring at least twice on each occasion.

Impressive victories against fellow European challengers Rennes and Lens at the end of 2021 were followed by a 3-0 win with 10 men away at Brest to open their account in 2022, and then last Friday's 2-1 success at home against Nantes.

A 30-yard free kick from Nantes's Andrei Girotto on the stroke of half time cancelled out Kasper Dolberg's 21st-minute penalty, but the hosts managed to regain the lead midway through the second half thanks to a calm finish inside the area from Khephren Thuram.

Nice are currently sitting 13 points and 11 places better off than at this stage last season, though Christophe Galtier's side remain 11 points behind league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Les Aiglons head into Sunday's fixture having won more away games than any other Ligue 1 team this season, coming out on top seven times in 10 matches on the road, including four wins in their last five.

Victory for Nice at the Stade Saint-Symphorien would see them equal their highest number of away wins in a single top-flight campaign, having previously won eight in 1972-73, 2016-17 and 2020-21.

Metz Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Metz form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Nice Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Nice form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W


Team News

Metz currently have seven players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations – Sofiane Alakouch, Pape Sarr, Boubakar Kouyate, Habib Maiga, Dylan Bronn, Farid Boulaya and Alexandre Oukidja – though the latter two are to return early after AFCON holders Algeria were surprisingly knocked out at the group stage. Both players, however, are unlikely to feature this weekend.

The hosts will also be without Jemerson (thigh), Manuel Cabit (leg), Matthieu Udol (knee) and Kevin N'Doram (broken foot) due to injury, while Centonze and Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik are both doubtful.

As Antonetti is short of options in defence, Sikou Niakate, Amadu Salif Mbengue and 18-year-old Lenny Lacroix – who have started only seven league games combined this season – could all start in the back three.

As for Nice, Justin Kluivert will serve a one-match suspension following an accumulation of yellow cards, but Morgan Schneiderlin is able to return from his one-game ban and will be in contention to start in centre-midfield.

Youcef Atal, another Algerian player, will return from AFCON early but is not expected to feature this weekend, while Gabonese midfielder Mario Lemina remains sidelined with heart complications caused by contracting COVID-19 – the 28-year-old also announced his international retirement this week midway through the tournament.

Left-back Melvin Bard missed last Friday's game after testing positive for COVID-19 and is doubtful this weekend, so Jordan Amavi is expected to continue in the back four, alongside Jordan Lotomba, Jean-Clair Todibo and Dante.

Nice forward Amine Gouiri is also set to start again this weekend; among players born in 2000 or later who currently play in one of Europe's top five leagues, only Erling Braut Haaland (53) and Dusan Vlahovic (42) have been involved in more goals than Gouiri (34) since the start of last season.

Metz possible starting lineup:
Caillard; Lacroix, Niakate, Mbengue; Centonze, Pajot, Traore, Bassi, Delaine; Niane, Nguette

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Lotomba, Dante, Todibo, Amavi; Boudaoui, Rosario, Thuram, Gouiri; Delort, Dolberg


We say: Metz 1-3 Nice

Both sides head into Sunday's fixture in high spirits, though the visitors will be the strong favourites to come away with all three points.

Metz can take confidence into the game having already beaten Nice this season, but Les Aiglons should have enough quality, particularly in the final third, to secure their fifth league victory in a row.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data



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Ligue 1 Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Paris Saint-GermainPSG22165146182853
2Nice22134536181842
3Marseille21117330161440
4StrasbourgStrasbourg22105744291535
5Rennes22104841212034
6Montpellier HSCMontpellier2210483730734
7MonacoMonaco229673526933
8Lens229673631533
9NantesNantes229583027332
10Lille228863030032
11Lyon218852927231
12Angers227872829-129
13Brest227782833-528
14Reims225982227-524
15Clermont2256112239-1721
16Troyes2255122031-1120
17Bordeaux2248103453-1920
18Metz2247112443-1919
19Lorient2238111838-2017
20Saint-EtienneSt Etienne2236131943-2415
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1Fulham27176473254857
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5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom28129734221245
6Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2812883733444
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9Coventry CityCoventry2611783530540
10Luton TownLuton2610883832638
11Stoke CityStoke27115113229338
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15Millwall268992729-233
16Bristol City2896133649-1333
17Swansea CitySwansea258892832-432
18Birmingham CityBirmingham2888123042-1232
19Hull City2785142331-829
20Cardiff CityCardiff2665152847-1923
21Reading2784153351-1822
22Peterborough UnitedPeterborough2655162353-3020
23Derby CountyDerby2781182626014
24Barnsley2628161741-2414
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