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Ligue 1

  • March 24, 2012
  • • 18:00
  • • Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
  • Referee: F. Fautrel
  • • Attendance: 24615
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Montpellier - Saint-Etienne Preview: Hosts aim to reduce deficit at the top of the table

Montpellier - Saint-Etienne Preview: Hosts aim to reduce deficit at the top of the table

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Rene Girard's men aim to bounce back from last weekend's shock defeat and keep the heat on Paris Saint-Germain, who are currently two points ahead in Ligue 1


PROBABLE LINEUPS


MONTPELLIER

Jourdren
Bocaly, Yangambiwa, El-Kaoutari, Bedimo
Saihi, Estrada
Ait Fana, Belhanda, Utaka
Giroud

 
SAINT-ETIENNE
AS Saint-Etienne
Ruffier 
Ebondo, Zouma, Mignot, Ghoulam
Guilavogui, Clement
Aubemayang, Nicolita, Sako
Sinama-Pongolle

Montpellier boss Rene Girard has no major concerns on the injury front, but will have to do without two defenders through suspension. Hilton and Benjamin Stambouli were both sent-off in last week's 1-0 defeat to Nancy, which has left la Paillade further adrift of leaders PSG.

On a positive note however, Jamel Saihi and Joris Marveaux both signed long-term deals at the Stade de la Mosson this weekend, with both set to feature at some point on Saturday.

Saint-Etienne's push for an unlikely Champions League place takes them to Montpellier on Saturday. Should they beat Rene Girard's men, les Verts would only be a point behind Lille in third.

Christophe Galtier has no major injury concerns in his squad at present, with kick-off scheduled at 19.00 CET on Saturday.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Montpellier remain second in the table, despite losing 1-0 to Nancy last weekend. 
  • La Paillade have won their previous five home games, without conceding a goal.
  • There has not been a first half goal in the last four games Montpellier have contested.
  • Saint-Etienne sit sixth with 46 points, four behind Lille in the third and the final Champions League qualification place.
  • Les Verts' Pierre Aubameyang has contributed to more than half of his side's goals on the road this season.
  • Saint-Etienne drew the reverse fixture earlier this season, with the points shared after a 1-1 draw.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
16Geoffrey JourdrenGoalkeeper
2Garry BocalyDefender
13Mapou Yanga-MbiwaDefender
5Vitorino Hilton da SilvaDefender
-H. BedimoDefender
29Younes BelhandaMidfielder
22Benjamin Stambouli Midfielder
23Jamel SaihiMidfielder
99John UtakaStriker
12Olivier GiroudStriker
19Souleymane CamaraStriker
1Laurent PionnierGoalkeeper
21Abdelhamid El KaoutariDefender
27Cyril JeunechampDefender
6Joris MarveauxMidfielder
7Grégory LacombeMidfielder
13M. EstradaMidfielder
20Rémy CabellaMidfielder
Players to Watch
Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 12
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The shining light in a shining Montpellier season. Leading the Ligue 1 scoring charts, as well as attracting admiring glances from the Premier League, Giroud is definitely the man of the moment. His ability to spot a chance, and killer finishing will make him a very difficult man to mark. The fulcrum of most of la Paillade's attacking ventures, Sainte will have to keep this man quiet.
Stéphane Ruffier
Stéphane Ruffier
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 16
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The ex-Monaco goalkeeper has been in inspired form, turning over a wondrous performance in last week's Rhone derby defeat to Lyon. Whilst Ruffier conceded one, he was fantastic throughout. A rock behind the Sainte defence, his performance could be a catalyst for Sainte's unlikely push for the Champions League.
Prediction
A very difficult match to predict, but I think that Rene Girard's men have the ability to beat a tricky opponent in Saint-Etienne. With their fantastic home form, a narrow victory for the hosts looks on the cards.
Editor's Prediction

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