Preview: Marseille vs. Montpellier HSC

Preview: Marseille vs. Montpellier HSC

Marseille host Montpellier HSC at the Stade Velodrome on the return of French football this Friday.

After results went their way before the international break, Marseille will look to continue the most unlikely of Ligue 1 title challenges.

Marseille enter the weekend seven points adrift of their big rivals Paris Saint-Germain, but the Parisiens have been far from consistent in racing away at the top.

A win away to a Reims side who had not lost for 19 matches saw Marseille take advantage of PSG’s slip up in losing at home to Rennes a day earlier.

A 3-0 loss at home in Le Classique against PSG last month led many to assume the title race was done and dusted, but Igor Tudor’s side will have belief again.

They would have been in an even better position had they not given up a two-goal lead in the final two minutes against Strasbourg, albeit with 10 men, the week previous.

Home form has deserted l’OM this season, as they have taken just 24 points from a possible 42 at the Velodrome, as well as crashing out the Coupe de France here against second-tier Annecy.

In comparison, their away form has been sensational, dropping just nine points in 14 away league games this campaign.

Montpellier have nothing to play for except pride in this fixture, but that is thanks to the staggering change in fortunes since changing manager last month.

There were fears of relegation midway through February, but all of a sudden Montpellier find themselves very comfortably cushioned in mid-table, 13 points off the drop zone and 14 points off the European places.

Michel Der Zakarian’s appointment has seen Montpellier take 16 points from a possible 18 under his stewardship – only Arsenal have more in that time in Europe’s top five leagues.

They have conceded only twice in those six games, with both away fixtures yielding wins to nil for Der Zakarian and his side.

The blistering form of Elye Wahi has helped a great deal, with the 20-year-old now in double figures for the season after netting four in his last three appearances, despite starting only one of them.

Marseille Ligue 1 form:

Marseille form (all competitions):

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form:

We say: Marseille 1-1 Montpellier HSC
Marseille’s home form has often been underwhelming this season, and they will be tested fully by such an in-form Montpellier side.

The visitors have become very solid defensively, but Ferri’s suspension gives Der Zakarian a selection headache with so many players out injured in that position.

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