UEFA Champions League 2018-19: Lyon vs Barcelona: Preview and prediction
The Champions League round of 16 will bring us two very important matches on Wednesday, one of which will be Barcelona's visit to Lyon for their first leg fixture. Though Barcelona are the more experienced side at this level, with some of the best players in the world, they will not have the luxury of taking Lyon lightly. Here is our detailed match preview.
Lyon have been in impressive form lately, winning five of their last six matches. This will be the first time in seven seasons that they will be playing in the knockout stage of the Champions League. Lyon will miss their captain Nabil Fekir, who will stay out of the action tomorrow due to a suspension. Midfielder Tanguy Ndombele's ankle injury will keep him out.
The Champions League is the most coveted trophy for Barcelona, who got knocked out in the quarter-finals in the last three seasons. Barcelona's major concern will be their recent form, as they barely won against Real Valladolid, and drew the three matches before that. Samuel Umtiti might be out with a knee injury, while Dembele could get the nod to start before Coutinho.
Memphis Depay will be the player Lyon will look to for inspiration after his run of solid performances this season. Barcelona have a host of world-class players in their ranks with Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakiti,c and Sergio Busquets, among others. Lionel Messi's form will be crucial for Barcelona to get a head start in this away fixture.
Lyon: Lopes; Marcal, Marcelo, Denayer; Mendy, Aouar, Ndombele, Tete; Depay, Dembele, Cornet. Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Vidal, Rakitic; Dembele, Suarez, Messi. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 1:30 AM on Wednesday and will be broadcast on the Sony Six network. It can also be live-streamed on the Sony LIV website and mobile application.
Lyon will be the underdogs when they take to the field against Barcelona. However, they cannot be written off after their impressive performance in Ligue 1, where they are currently third. Barcelona should try to create a formidable goal difference to make things easier for themselves in the second leg. We predict the match to go 1-3 in Barcelona's favor.
Keeping a 4-3-3 formation in mind, choose Ter Stegen as the goalkeeper. Marcelo and Jordi Alba can be the left and right backs while Denayer and Pique play as the center-backs. Mendy, Busquets, and Ndombele can be the midfielders, while Messi, Ousmane Dembele, and Depay take up attacking responsibilities.