Montpellier host Nice in France’s Friday night (20:00) fixture this week, hoping to become the first side to defeat the Ligue 1 leaders this season.
The visitors have conceded just four times in 11 games this season, keeping clean sheets in their last six games.
On the other hand, La Paillade have been consistently inconsistent, alternating between a win and defeat in their last four, a run of form which has them in 13th going into the weekend.
Arnaud Nordin and Becir Omeragic remain sidelined for Montpellier, who could welcome Wahbi Khazri back to the starting line-up after the Tunisian began the last two games on the bench.
The big team news for Nice is that they will be without midfielder Youssouf Ndayishimiye for the first time this season, following his red card against Rennes. The 27-year-old has been an ever-present for Francesco Farioli’s side this season, shielding the backline with authority.
On-loan Aston Villa midfielder Morgan Sanson could be in line for a return to the starting XI, as Farioli looks for ways to replace Ndayishimiye, while another option could be to push Pablo Rosario into midfield and play Jordan Lotomba – who returned to training this week- at right-back.
Alexis Claude-Maurice is still unavailable, however.
Nice are 23/20 to record a fifth win in a row, while the hosts can be backed at 12/5 and a draw at 23/10.
Both teams to score won in both games between the sides last season, and it’s 8/11 to happen again.
Gaetan Laborde to score anytime @ 2/1
The 29-year-old is still held in high regard around the city of Montpellier, despite scoring in his two previous visits to Stade de la Mosson as an opposition player.
Laborde scored 39 times in 118 appearances for Montpellier between 2018-2021, before leaving for Rennes and subsequently Nice.
The forward is without a goal in his last six games, and what better way to break that run that at his old stomping ground, where he has continued to enjoy success for both Rennes and Nice.
Montpellier have conceded five times at home this season – three to Reims and two to Le Havre – and they shipped three at second-placed PSG last weekend.
Draw @ 23/10
Nice’s sensational start to the season has been based on a resolute defence, marshalled superbly by Ndayishimiye in front of them. But the absence of the Burundi international for the first time this season could be enough to unsettle the backline.
Four of their last five wins have ended 1-0, but is that sustainable for much longer?
Montpellier have shown themselves to be dangerous opposition this season, with forwards Akor Adams (seven), Mousa Al Tamari (five) and Teji Savanier (three) scoring 15 between them in Ligue 1.
Two of their four homes games have ended in a draw this season, and this fixture was a tight affair back in May when Nice narrowly edged it 3-2, courtesy of a 79th-minute winner from Laborde.
23/10 is an enticing enough price to swerve away from another Nice win.
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