Lyon v Barcelona Match Preview
Lyon are very much what you’d call an ‘enigma’ sort of team. This is a squad that possess undoubted class yet desperately lacks consistency. On their day they can literally beat anyone - as both PSG and Manchester City can testify. Yet on the flip side they are capable of losing to or cocking up against virtually anyone as well. Excitement usually follows OL and their Champions League Group contained a glutton of goals. Following a shock opening day win at the Etihad when they totally caught Man City cold, Bruno Genesio’s men went on to draw their last five consecutive games. Three of those ended 2-2 and of course there was the wild 3-3 away against Hoffenheim. Somehow, despite all of their good play this was a team that needed to pick up something away to Shakhtar in the last game, but they showed some balls by coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw.
The main strength of this Lyon team is that it has plenty of attacking weapons to hurt anyone. In all competitions Memphis Depay has supplied 13 assists and scored 6 goals and is their true X-factor type player. When in the mood he has to be included in the World Class bracket, although his moments like this can be all too fleeting. Nabil Fekir is another player quite capable of causing Barcelona plenty of problems, although it will have to be in the second leg due to a suspension here. The likes of Bertrand Traore, Houssem Aouar & Moussa Dembele are all having good seasons, and we mustn’t forget Maxwel Cornet & Martin Terrier who are strong options in their own right.
Lyon certainly aren’t as dominant defensively though. They haven’t kept many clean sheets this season and of course in the Champions League they were shipping goals left right and centre. OL don’t necessarily possess bad defenders, it’s simply a case of them over exposing themselves at times. Whoever plays at fullback tends to get forward regularly, especially Ferland Mendy on the left hand side and he is definitely a player worth keeping an eye on and could go far in the game. Stand out centre back Jason Denayer can really tough and grind it out when needed, although he is a massive injury doubt for this game and it would be a huge blow if he couldn’t feature. Bruno Genesio might be forced to go with youngster Oumar Solet in central defence for this match, which would probably spell an awful lot of trouble.
Another key player who is rated doubtful is midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. He has been a really powerful force in the middle of the park for OL this season and his stock seems to be rising week by week. Considering Fekir is banned and Denayer rated very doubtful, Genesio might have to gamble by starting him even if he isn't quite fully fit. The Lyon game plan will be to attack, they don’t really know any other way and like to be positive on the front foot. They won't fear Barcelona and recognise the only way to make it through to the Quarter Finals will be to outscore the Catalan giants. I think we can expect plenty of fireworks at Parc OL on Tuesday night.