Coupe de la Ligue: Laval v Montpellier – Nantes v Angers

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The Coupe de la Ligue is back for a midweek round with the fourteen non-European Ligue 1 teams joining the party, along with four Ligue 2 teams and two from third-tier National.

Stade Lavallois v Montpellier Hérault SC, 18:45 CEST (Canal+ Sport) 

Stade Lavallois are bottom of Ligue 2, and have only scored six goals in the dozen matches played thus far in the league. Montpellier have conceded 23, the worst defence in Ligue 1. Something has to give, and the smart money here should be on the visitors to get a win.

Other than Saint-Etienne loanee Dylan Saint-Louis (three goals in seven matches), the Mayenne side have little to offer in attack, and even with Daniel Congre unlikely to be risked as he nears a return to fitness, there is little to worry Frederic Hantz’s back line. Steve Mounie should return from suspension to lead the line, with former Monaco and Evian man Cedric Mongongu getting his first start in defense since arriving as a late ‘joker’ earlier this month. While this match doesn’t have the makings of a spectacle, it should bring a much-needed win for Montpellier.  

Prediction : Stade Lavallois 0-2 Montpellier Herault SC  

FC Nantes v Angers SCO, 21:00 CEST (Canal+ Sport) 

The late kick-off of tonight’s two matches pits two Ligue 1 opponents against each other, with both sides known for their defensive solidity. Angers don’t tend to rotate their first eleven much in the league, where they are ninth, but this is the sort of match that could afford more time the likes of Nicolas Pepe, who has impressed in flashes but has started just once.

Nantes in fourteenth have a similar surfeit of attacking talent, and Rene Girard could opt to include Adrien Thomasson. The young Frenchman was one of Nantes’ more consistent performers last season, but has been more peripheral with the promotion of Amine Harit and the summer arrival of Nicolaj Thomsen. An impressive performance against Angers could be enough to give Girard pause. Look for both teams to come out of their shell to some extent, but for Angers’ quality to shine through against the hosts.  
 
Prediction : FC Nantes 1-2 Angers SCO 

You can read more from Eric Devin at his blog, and follow him on Twitter.

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