Soccer France Ligue 1 Prediction
Nantes vs Montpellier - Match Preview
⚽ 20 May 2023 - 15:00 GMT +0
In any regular Ligue 1 season, Nantes' current 12-game winless run (D5, L7) would not have left the club on the verge of a crisis. But the unique four-team relegation zone of 2022/23, which they occupied following a 0-0 draw at Toulouse, could force them into Ligue 2 for the first time in a decade on their current trajectory.
The Beaujoire faithful will welcome a new manager and captain after Pierre Aristouy and Samuel Moutoussamy made their debuts in their respective leadership roles against Toulouse. Any bitterness 24-year-old goalkeeper Alban Lafont may have felt about losing the armband would have been quickly quelled by his first clean sheet in 12 Ligue 1 games, and a second straight shutout here would give Nantes a decent shot of escaping the relegation zone as direct rivals Auxerre play PSG.
Montpellier were in the midst of losing five out of six league games when they hosted Nantes (L 3-0) in mid-January, but a management change of their own has secured their participation in the top-flight next season. The visitors were two points above the danger zone when sacking Romain Pitau in February, before immediately turning things around under Michel Der Zakarian.
At the end of the last round, in which they shared the points with Lorient (1-1), Montpellier had collected more points than 15 other clubs during Der Zakarian’s tenure (W7, D3, L3), including 1-0 away wins against Ajaccio and Troyes who both currently share relegation places with Nantes.
📋 Players to watch: After he sat the last round out due to a refusal to don a one-off kit with rainbow-coloured numbers, Mostafa Mohamed and his club were keen to put the drama behind them quickly. They’ll be hoping he can collect his 12th competitive goalscoring appearance of the season, especially after losing just one of the previous 11 (W6, D4). One of those goals was in the reverse H2H, a week before Montpellier’s Stephy Mavididi collected two of his three away goals for 2022/23.
⚡ Hot streak: Nantes conceded first-half goals in their last seven league defeats.
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