French Top 14: Montpellier v Lyon Preview

Montpellier will be looking to carry their European form into their domestic league when they host Lyon on Saturday the 23rd of December. 

Vern Cotter's Montpellier will be looking to return to winning ways on the domestic front when they play host to a Lyon side in freefall this coming weekend. The visitors, after making a sensational start to their domestic campaign, have lost all four of their last domestic fixtures and look ripe for the taking here.

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Montpellier v Lyon | Saturday 23 December | Altrad Stadium | 19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 1/5 | Draw 22/1 | Lyon 34/10
Montpellier (-8.5) 9/10 | Lyon (+8.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecast handicap

The 'Montpellier Monsters' may have struggled on the domestic front over the past month but they had no such issue when it came to the continental tournament as they comfortably beat the Glasgow Warriors in both of their Champions Cup ties. Those two victories have seen Montpellier reignite their chances of qualifying for the next round of the Champions Cup, which will have given every member of their squad a massive boost of confidence. 

Prior to their doubleheader against Glasgow, Montpellier had suffered back-to-back Top 14 defeats going down 26-14 to La Rochelle in round 11 and 26-0 to Racing in round 10. Before that, Vern Cotter's side were almost untouchable, racking up wins for fun on their way to the summit of the league. Cotter will be desperate to see his side return to that lofty perch, and there's every chance they will do that in the coming weeks with only two points separating them from current log-leaders, La Rochelle.

It hasn't been the happiest of times for Lyon fans with their side struggling for domestic form. As noted earlier, 'The Wolves' are winless in four. This dip in form has seen them drop to third on the Top 14 standings and they really need to arrest this winless streak if they are to challenge for a spot in the knockout phase of this season's Top 14.

Lyon did manage to win a game against French opposition this past weekend, albeit a European Challenge Cup game rather than a Top 14 fixture. Their 21-11 victory over Toulouse would have given them some confidence heading into this one, however, so you can expect to see a much more spirited showing from Lyon this weekend as opposed to the shift they put in during their last Top 14 fixture which saw them hammered by Toulon. They will also be keen to put in a solid display this weekend, with talismanic veteran, Fredric Michalak, having announced his intentions to retire at the conclusion of the season.

Verdict: Montpellier (-8.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecast handicap
I think Lyon are going to struggle at the Altrad this weekend. Their recent away form is horrendous while Montpellier tend to turn on the style in front of their home faithful. As such, I'll be having a strike on the minus handicap if it opens up at anything under the ten point mark. 

Written by Darry Worthington for

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