Montpellier between fear and hopes for the end of the season

Montpellier between fear and hopes for the end of the season

Téji Savanier doit emmener tous ses coéquipiers dans son sillage pour espérer se maintenir. Midi Libre – giacomo italiano

Montpellier must quickly forget Paris (2-6) to concentrate on maintaining. State of play before a decisive month for its future.

We have known for several weeks that Montpellier is playing its part but its players do not seem to be aware of it all the time. They played Sunday's match against Paris as if it were a gala match. The Montpellier residents opened themselves to the four winds falling the unbridled Parisian game. The MHSC also accumulated 2.62 Expected Goals in the 1st period, the highest total suffered by Paris SG in the first 45 minutes of a Ligue 1 match over the last 10 seasons.

Except that upon arrival, La Paillade conceded six goals. « We need to defend better, for our goal average, it’s not good,” said Michel Der Zakarian, the coach, on Sunday evening. His team had some margin compared to the other teams playing for the remainder, it has no more compared to Le Havre, its next opponent (-7, -9 for the MHSC) and less compared to the goal differences of Strasbourg. (-11) and Lorient (-14), Metz (-16) and Nantes (-17).

Falling back into defensive habits

Montpellier therefore fell back into its defensive failings and did not defend as a team as was the case a week earlier in Nice (1-2). Two steps forward, three steps back, that’s the daily routine for the MHSC this season. Certainly, the defeat against Paris was expected but the manner and scale are surprising.

Also read: Ligue 1. "I don't give a damn about Mbappé", "there could have been a red card", Michel Der Zakarian's reaction after MHSC – PSG

With several observations that are essential. The first is that Montpellier cannot do without Joris Chotard, the only real defensive midfielder in the squad. Léo Leroy, who had made a good start in Nice, did not confirm against Paris and his doublet with Jordan Ferri took on water as it had been drowned against the Niçois in the Coupe de France (1-4) . We will know more this week on the calf injury of the former international hopeful (withdrawal from the U23s) but also on the upcoming absences of Benjamin Lecomte (toe) and Issiaga Sylla (calf). Three injured starters when you're playing for survival in Ligue 1, it's crippling.

As are the losses of confidence and efficiency of the two attackers Akor Adams and Mousa Tamari. The first is replaced by Whabi Khazri, rather interesting in the game but he also struggles in front of goal.
The second shoulder injury since the Asian Nations Cup is struggling, like the Nigerian, to regain his level at the start of the season.

Savanier, Nordin and Omeragic, examples

In this rather gloomy context, there are, however, reasons for hope. Starting with the increasingly regular performances of captain Téji Savanier who literally carries his team. Whether in the game but also in the finishing with three goals and two assists in the last five matches.

The leader of the MHSC is well supported by Arnaud Nordin who, finally rid of his injuries, returns to his level of last year, that of a good Ligue 1 striker. We suspect even his trainer Michel Der Zakarian for having preserved him against Paris by taking him out early when the cause was heard. The ex-Stéphanois had a small quadriceps scare at the start of last week.

Becir Omeragic's injury is also forgotten. The Swiss defender, injured in the arch of his foot, put out Randal Kolo Muani in the first half. If the boss of the Montpellier defense struggled in the second half against Kylian Mbappé, we can count on him.

And like their teammates, they won't come across opponents who are as successful on long shots every week. The results of the weekend practically maintained a status quo since Toulouse, Le Havre, Metz and Nantes also lost, Lorient snatched a point and Strasbourg won against direct opponents in the form of Nantes.

This is what the Montpellier residents will have to do after the international break against the Le Havre and Clermontois but also against the Lorient and Canary Islands. A month which will be decisive in saving his head in Ligue 1 between fear and hopes.

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