TRAFTON KENNEY - Thursday, February 25, 2010
Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes travel south this Saturday in search of a win against an overachieving Montpellier team at the Stade de la Mosson.
After falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to third-placed Lille last Sunday, Rennes face the next team up the table in what promises to be a tricky match against Montpellier. Just three points off league-leaders Bordeaux, Montpellier are enjoying a fine season in the top-tier after their promotion from Ligue 2 last season.
The two teams last met in October, with Rennes dispatching visitors Montpellier by a score of 3-0 with Sylvain Marveaux, Moussa Sow, and Asamoah Gyan all scoring for Les Rouges et Noirs.
Before last week's narrow loss to Saint-Etienne, Montpellier were riding a five-game winning streak including a 2-0 scalp of Marseille. With the help of defenders Emir Spahic and Cyril Jeunechamp, goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren failed to concede a single goal over the same stretch.
Bocanegra's position at left-back has come under pressure recently from 23-year old Romain Danzé. While Bocanegra started against Lille, Coach Frédéric Antonetti replaced him at half-time with Danzé.
With neither full-back distinguishing himself, the spot is still up for competition. On the opposite flank, Rod Fanni will be riding a wave of confidence after earning a call-up by Coach Raymond Domenech for France's upcoming friendly against Spain.
The game will be tinged with a healthy bit of sibling rivalry, with Montpellier's Joris Marveaux facing his younger brother Sylvain at Rennes in midfield. Yann M'Vila of Rennes will have the task of keeping Argentine Alberto Costa quiet, while also getting involved in the attack.
Both Rennes' Gyan and Montpellier's Victor Hugo Montańo are tied at nine goals this season, with both strikers hoping to break into double digits this Saturday.
Another concern for Rennes will be 21-year old forward Karim Aďt-Fana who has impressed this season for Montpellier, even scoring a goal against Marseille last month.
Montpellier, who have won three of their last five games at home, need a win to keep pressure on Bordeaux, who have a game in hand. Rennes need a positive result if they hope to stay in the top ten.