Montpellier HSC

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Ligue 1
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Season Guide
2019/2020

Montpellier HSC

In


Teji Savanier (mid) (Nimes); Andy Delort (att) (Toulouse) ; Jordan Ferri (mid) (Lyon) ; Matias Carvalho (gk) (Toulouse)

Out


Benjamin Lecomte (k)(gk) (Monaco) ; Isaac Mbenza (att) (Huddersfield) ; Ellyes Skhiri (r)(mid) (Koln) ; Bryan Passi (def) (Niort) ; Yannis Ammour (gk) (Beziers), Killian Sanson (Quevilly) (both loans) ; Giovanni Sio (att) (Genclerbirligi) ; Morgan Poaty (sp)(def) (Guingamp) ; Jeremie Porsan-Clemente (def), Jonathan Ligali (sp)(gk) (both released)

Montpellier finished last season in a credible sixth spot in Ligue 1, narrowly missing out on European football under the wily leadership of Michel Der Zakarian. The Stade de la Mosson club come into the new campaign in decent shape, although they are without a recognised No.1 goalkeeper having sold Benjamin Lecomte to Monaco and allowed Jonathan Ligali to be released. Youngster Dimitry Bertaud is in pole position for the role at present but would represent a huge gamble. Defensively, Montpellier are one of the most redoubtable sides in the league and a team that has not changed anything significant over the summer. Right wing-back Ruben Aguilar continues to be linked with a move away, but a man who is so strong going forward remains on their books. In the heart of the defence, meanwhile, Hilton may turn 42 in September, but has shown no signs of allowing his form to drop. The midfield sector, meanwhile, may have said goodbye to Ellyes Skhiri but returns for the new season a stronger unit. Jordan Ferri, who has significant Ligue 1 experience, has arrived from Lyon, but impressively they have managed to scoop up Teji Savanier, the league’s leading assist maker last season and a demon over a dead ball. With Florent Mollet also on their books, there should be no shortage of technical quality and creativity in the heart of the field. In attack, too, Montpellier are quietly well equipped, having competed the signing of Andy Delort, who struck up an effective partnership with Gaetan Laborde last season. Depth in this area does represent something of a worry, with Souleymane Camara now 36 and Petar Skuletic yet to prove himself since arriving a year ago, but both the regulars have good injury records of late. Pre-season has proven difficult, with two draws and two defeats in four matches, but Der Zakarian is expected to have his team ready to open up against Rennes on August 10.

Target


Montpellier are strong enough to replicate their exploits and finish in the Top 6, although goalkeeper could be an issue if it not resolved promptly.

Season Review
2018/2019

№6: Montpellier HSC

Montpellier might have missed out on Europe late in the season, but overall they had a successful campaign which saw them finish well up the league. It was a triumph of Michel Der Zakarian’s pragmatism, with the 3-4-1-2 system they employed over the course of the campaign ensuring that the whole added up to more than the sum of the parts. The key aspect to their play was defensive. In their starting rearguard, they did not have a single failure and there was no sign of a depreciation in the form of Hilton, who has signed on to play another year despite being the wrong side of 40. Alongside him, Daniel Congre was a strong partner, while goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte had an excellent season in goal that saw him rewarded with a call up to the France national side. Montpellier concentrated their attacking strength down the right, where wing-back Ruben Aguilar had another excellent campaign, albeit one interrupted by injury. If they were to lose him over the summer, it would be a significant blow. Meanwhile, in attack the unlikely partnership of Gaetan Laborde, an August signing from Bordeaux, and Andy Delort dovetailed superbly. Both hard-working and physical players, they struck 25 goals between them, Delort having the best season of his career to date. Behind them, Florent Mollet was the man to orchestrate their attacking play. He became increasingly effective as the season wore on, gathering goals and assists increasingly. He was something of an unsung hero. The midfield, meanwhile, was quietly effective. Damien Le Tallec had an excellent season, having been preferred in this role to a defensive one, while Ellyes Skhiri was again a steady performer. Montpellier can be more than content with what they have achieved this season, which was their best since they won the title in 2012. Matching this performance next term will be tough as they were overachievers, though with unfashionable players, they may not be pillaged too much in the summer.


Player of the Season: Andy Delort

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