Football specialist James O’Rourke (@JamesOR1) previews Lyon v Barcelona and provides us with his best bets for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg tie by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • 2019 Profit & Loss: +3.77pts

Lyon v Barcelona Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 19/02/19
  • Time: 20:00
  • Venue: Groupama Stadium
  • Channel: BT Sport 3

Spain has accounted for the last five winners of the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid have secured four of those titles, whilst Barcelona are looking to win back the trophy that they last won in 2015 when defeating Juventus 3-1 in Berlin. We have to go all the way back to 1993 for the last time a club from France won this competition, and it was Marseille after they edged past Milan 1-0 in Munich. It would be fair to say that Barcelona, inspired by a certain Lionel Messi, are the favourites to progress over two legs, especially with the second leg at home.

Whilst that may be the case, it is probably Lyon who head into Tuesday’s clash looking forward to it more than their opponents. Whilst they got the job done on Friday to squeeze past lowly Guingamp at home, attentions soon switched to this contest. A blow for head coach Bruno Génésio is that his Lyon team is certain to be below full strength, which is far from ideal against a quality opponent. However, they went through the group stages unbeaten (five draws, one victory) and being the underdog could suit them well.

For all that Barcelona sit top of the La Liga table once again, there is a generally feeling from within that they aren’t performing as well as they’d like. They required a Messi penalty to beat Valladolid 1-0 at home on Saturday night. It was a performance which appeared to have one big eye on the clash against Lyon in a few days’ time. Ernesto Valverde elected to rest a handful of regular starters on the bench, and those changes certainly had an effect on how the team played. Whilst Barcelona haven’t lost many games at all in all competitions this season, there still appears to be a sense of vulnerability about them. If Messi doesn’t perform, where does the magic come from? Just 42% clean sheets in the league will concern them too, as will some of their displays away from the Camp Nou this season. They’ve essentially won the games they’ve needed to on the road, but failed to return from the likes of Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Inter, Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao with maximum points.

Team News

Lyon lost central defender Jason Denayer early in the second half of Friday’s home win over Guingamp with a suspected groin issue. This is highly likely to rule him out of this game, which is a blow to the French outfit. Fernando Marcal began that Ligue 1 contest at left back, but is capable of slotting into central defence, and will do. Ferland Mendy was rested to the bench, along with both Tanguy Ndombele and Memphis Depay. Ndombele is however nursing an ankle issue and is set to miss out, which would be another huge loss for Lyon. 21-year-old Lucas Tousart, who has started two of the last three games, should play again. Depay will start, especially with key attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir suspended for the first leg. This means Lyon are set to be without three very important regular starters. It could even trigger a formation change. Maxwel Cornet is the man who is set to come in as well. Rafael, Amine Gouiri and Ousseynou Ndiaye remain injured.

Barcelona have three definite injuries heading into this contest. Those are midfielder Arthur, ‘cup goalkeeper’ Jasper Cillessen and creative spark Rafinha. Barca however are unsure if former Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti is able to return to action on his return to France. He has been out of action since November with a knee problem, and it is probably more likely he won’t be risked or rushed back for this game. Ernesto Valverde unsurprisingly rotated his team to a degree for Saturday’s game with Valladolid. Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Clement Lenglet and Nelson Semedo all started as substitutes, but should play from the off on this occasion. No injuries were sustained in the Valladolid contest, which was a positive for the Camp Nou side.

Potential Lyon Starting XI: Anthony Lopes, Leo Dubois, Marcelo, Fernando Marcal, Ferland Mendy, Houssem Aouar, Lucas Tousart, Bertrand Traore, Memphis Depay, Maxwel Cornet, Moussa Dembele.

Potential Barcelona Starting XI: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi.

Head To Head

  • There has been a total of six meetings between these two clubs. Lyon has yet to record a victory, with Barcelona securing the win on four occasions. Therefore, two has ended all-square.
  • In the three games where Lyon has been the home side, they earned two draws and suffered a narrow defeat.
  • The last meeting between the pair came in 2009, with Barcelona thumping their French opponents 5-2 in the Camp Nou. Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi both started that match.
  • Four of the six clashes has seen both teams score. In terms of goals across those six, Lyon returned seven, whilst Barcelona tallied a total of 16.

Key Stats & Facts

  • Whilst Lyon have won their last two at home, including against PSG, their home record over a longer period hasn’t necessarily been as strong as they’d have wanted. They have 17 home games to their name in all competitions this season, but returned only eight victories. This includes six frustrating draws.
  • A lack of recent clean sheets on home soil is something which will also frustrate the Ligue 1 team. They have just the five to their name in front of their own supporters, including against Monaco and St Etienne. On the flip side, they’ve only twice failed to score in a home game in the 2018/19 campaign.
  • In La Liga, the period of time which Barcelona has scored the most goals is between minutes 76-90. They have netted 16 times within this, and 57% of their goals scored have occurred in the second half of their league clashes.
  • Barcelona have scored an average of 2.00 goals per away game (3.00 at home) in La Liga so far. They’ve actually conceded on average over a goal per game at home, but it is below this amount on the road. This suggests that they may look to manage this first leg and then really take the game to Lyon on home soil.

Betting Odds

  • Lyon 4/1
  • Draw 61/20
  • Barcelona 37/50

The Verdict

Personally, I don’t want to be touching the 1×2 market for this game. Lyon do look great value but they’re ultimately going to be under strength for this game, and that dampens enthusiasm. I can’t be having Barcelona at odds-on either. They may have only lost four times in all competitions this season but I’m still not entirely convinced by them. Two wins in their last six in all competitions is very much a slump for a club such as them. They should progress over two legs, but they’ve been quite sketchy on the road of late.

The first thought for a game involving these two teams is goals, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the case. Only 8% of Lyon’s home league games has featured at least four goals, whilst 27% of Barcelona’s away La Liga games has done so too. This could be one of those games where both cancels each other out to a degree, knowing that there is a second leg still to come. Both Teams To Score paid off in all of Lyon’s group phase matches and all three of Barcelona’s away were as well. Lyon have to try and take a lead into leg two, and defence is not necessarily their main strength. With Messi, Suarez and co, you’d fancy them to muster a goal between them as well!

Recommended Bets

  • 1pt – Under 4 Goals and Both Teams To Score – 12/5 (Bet365)