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Ligue 1 preview: AS Monaco vs Montpellier HSC

AS Monaco will entertain Montpellier HSC at the Stade Louis II in Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash.

Both teams went into the international break with defeats as Monaco lost 1-0 to Brest on match day six while Montpellier were beaten by the same scoreline by Nimes.

Earlier on Friday, Montpellier released a surprise statement where it was confirmed that eight players and four of the coaching staff had tested positive for the coronavirus.

However, later in the same day, the south French outfit disclosed a second round of testing where it was confirmed that only one of the players in Pedro Mendes had remained positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, manager Michel Der Zakarian is the only member of the coaching staff, who has yet to recover and assistants Franck Rizzetto and Pascal Baills are expected to take up the matchday duties on Sunday.

The visitors should play with a full-strength team and it will be an intriguing contest with both sides currently just outside of the Champions League positions.

Monaco and Montpellier have picked up 10 points from the opening six league games, but the latter are currently ahead on the table in fifth with the superior goal difference.

Recent Head-to-Head meetings:

Monaco won the previous meeting against Montpellier with a 1-0 scoreline in February 2020. However, prior to that, they went on a five-match winless streak against them, which included three draws and two losses.

Team News:

Aleksandr Golovin is still out of contention with a hamstring problem while Fode Ballo-Toure could also miss the encounter with a broken toe. Summer signing Axel Disasi is serving the second match of a two-game ban and that should see teenager Chrislain Matsima accompany Benoit Badiashile in the central defence.

Initially, Montpellier had eight players in Jonas Omlin, Dimitry Bertaud, Daniel Congre, Hilton, Andy Delort, Nicolas Cozza, Pedro Mendes and Teji Savanier, who had tested positive for COVID-19. Mendes is the only one, who has yet to recover from the virus and Cozza should take up his position at the heart of a three-man backline.

Predicted Lineups:

Monaco (4-3-3): Benjamin Lecomte; Giulian Biancone, Benoit Badiashile, Chrislain Matsima, Ruben Aguilar; Sofiane Diop, Cesc Fabregas, Youssouf Fofana; Gelson Martins, Wissam Ben Yedder, Kevin Volland

Montpellier (3-4-1-2): Jonas Omlin; Nicolas Cozza, Hilton, Daniel Congre; Arnaud Souquet, Damien Le Tallec, Jordan Ferri, Mihailo Ristic; Teji Savanier; Andy Delort, Gaetan Laborde

Predicted Score:

Montpellier are generally a solid defensive unit, but they have failed to keep a single clean sheet this term from their opening six games. Monaco have fared slightly better with a single shutout and we are fancying them to return to winning ways with the presence of quality attackers such as Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland upfront.

AS Monaco 2-1 Montpellier HSC

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