This is an interesting tie. On paper, Manchester City should win easily, but few people would’ve given Lyon a prayer against Juventus – they were priced by bookmakers as having roughly a one in five chance of progressing – and they made it through that challenge.
They also got the better of City in 2018/19, as Lyon stunned Pep Guardiola’s side by beating them 2-1 at the Etihad in the group stage, before drawing the return fixture 2-2 having led it twice.
Not many teams get four points out of City in a campaign – no side did in the Premier League last season – and the French side were ahead for 73 minutes across the two matches when Pep’s pups trailed for just 132 minutes in the league across that whole season.
But as much as those games took place last season, they were almost two years ago. Lyon have lost Nabil Fekir to Real Betis since their win in Manchester, while Tanguy Ndombele has moved on to take up a vital position in north London as Jose Mourinho’s scapegoat for his own failings.
They do still have their lucky charm in the shape of Memphis Depay though. The Dutchman has played six Champions League matches this season and scored in them all. And with Lyon strong on the counter – only two sides in Ligue 1 scored more times on the break in 2019/20 – he should get chances as City will inevitably dominate possession.
All that said, it would take a brave man to bet against the English team. Juventus had five clear-cut chances against Lyon on Friday night, while RB Leipzig had nine across two games against them in the group phase.
Don’t count on City inflicting a hammering though. Lyon lost 10 league games this term, but only one by more than a single goal, so while Guardiola’s side will probably meet the minimum handicap requirement, they are unlikely to go wild.
Paddy doesn’t think that both teams will find the net in this one, presumably because City are such strong favourites.
However, the European records for these clubs suggests that this is exactly what will happen. The Citizens are one of three teams who scored in all of their first eight matches in the Champions League this season, while Lyon’s only blank occurred in their 2-0 loss at Zenit St. Petersburg.
Neither of these teams has kept their opponents at bay very often in Europe either, with each side keeping just two clean sheets this season. If anything, the form book says Lyon should be more likely to hold out, as City haven’t shut out the opposition in their last six Champions League games. Meanwhile, Lyon won 1-0 against Juventus in those crazy, carefree days shortly before lockdown.
Rudi Garcia’s side drew 0-0 with PSG in the French League Cup final too, but City will surely breach their backline and can’t be relied upon to win to nil in a big game at the moment.
In the Card Index market, the logical choice would appear to go for Under 40 points. Of the 13th current Champions League referees with at least 20 matches in the competition, Danny Makkelie – the ref for this one – averages the fewest points-per-game, at 28.6.
He has only racked up 40 points twice in his five Champions League games this season and hasn’t gone above it in his last eight games in Europe’s elite club tournament.
However, there has been a red card shown in three of Manchester City’s eight European games so far this season. Meanwhile Lyon picked up an incredible seven yellow cards in their 2-1 loss to Juventus, for offences such as time wasting, dissent, and having the temerity to tell Cristiano Ronaldo that Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time.
City may have to commit tactical fouls when Lyon try to hit them on the break, while the French side will defend with everything they’ve got if they manage to get ahead.
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