Barcelona v Lyon: Back Les Gones to go down swinging
Barcelona and Lyon are locked at 0-0 on aggregate as we head to the Camp Nou for the second leg of their Last 16 Champions League encounter. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Barcelona have W26-D2-L0 across their last 28 Champions League outings at home, whilst over the past 10 years, the Catalans have suffered a sole reverse across 50 Camp Nou outings in this competition."
Barcelona v Lyon
Wednesday March 13, 20:00
Live on BT Sport
Barcelona wasteful in the first leg
Barcelona warmed up for Wednesday night's contest with a routine 3-1 victory over struggling Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. The Blaugrana fell behind midway through the first-half but responded soon after and ran out comfortable victors thanks to goals from Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The result keeps Barca seven points clear at the top.
The hosts were held scoreless in the first leg of this fixture despite racking up 25 shots and an Expected Goals (xG) count of 2.34 in France. Messi, Suarez and Phillipe Coutinho were all denied by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes in a largely wasteful performance in front of goal from the defending Spanish champions.
Out-of-form Coutinho could be handed another opportunity to impress at the Camp Nou this midweek with Ousmane Dembele a major doubt for the home side. Elsewhere, Ernesto Valverde is expected to hand Clement Lenglet, Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto roles in the starting XI again having missed out on Saturday.
Fekir back to lead Lyon
Lyon squandered a two-goal advantage to share the spoils with Strasbourg on Saturday. Bruno Genesio opted to start Nabil Fekir, Bertrand Traore, Memphis Depay and Tanguy Ndombele on the bench with a view for keeping his leading lights fresh for the midweek trip to Spain, although Fekir and Traore appeared in the latter stages of the contest.
Les Gones were second-best in the reverse fixture and appeared to miss the creative influence of suspended skipper Fekir. His involvement will be key for the French outfit here, although Depay, Houssem Aouar and Martin Terrier all came close for the Ligue 1 side in Lyon, with their respectable 0.92 xG produced from only five attempts at goal.
Centre-half Marcelo is a major doubt for Lyon coming into this week having hobbled off injured in Saturday's showdown. Leo Dubois replaced the defender at the weekend, whilst fellow defender Marcal could be fit enough to feature, along with full-back Rafael and Jeremy Morel. Youngster Amine Gouiri is the only confirmed absentee.
Catalan giants can conquer Les Gones
Barcelona have W26-D2-L0 across their last 28 Champions League outings at home, whilst over the past 10 years, the Catalans have suffered a sole reverse across 50 Camp Nou outings in this competition. Unsurprisingly, the Blaugrana have been chalked up as heavy [1.26] favourites to progress to the quarter-finals with a victory on Wednesday night.
Barca haven't failed to score on home soil since February 2018 across all competitions and the likelihood of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez being quite so charitable for the second occasion in two contests with Lyon appears slim. However, the hosts are likely to give the [14.50] underdogs opportunities in the final-third.
Nine La Liga clubs have faced fewer shots in the penalty area than Barcelona this season and Ernesto Valverde's troops have also conceded a larger share of Expected Goals (xG) from open play than eight other domestic rivals, including rock-bottom Huesca. That should encourage a Lyon side that made their mark in home and away ties with Man City.
Lyon to make their mark at the Camp Nou
Five of Barcelona's eight home dates in the Champions League under Ernesto Valverde's tutorship have featured Over 2.5 Goals, although there's little appeal in current [1.47] quotes on a repeat. Only three of those fixtures featured both sides scoring but that looks an appealing play this midweek as Lyon look for a vital away goal.
Both Teams To Score banked in all six of Lyon's group games with the visitors also making their mark in 17 of their past 20 tussles. Overcoming the Catalans might be a step too far for Bruno Genesio's boys but 6/4 on Les Gones notching in a Barcelona victory hold plenty of appeal this midweek.
Mark's 2018/19 Profit/Loss
Staked: 120.00 pts
Returned: 123.31 pts
P/L: +3.31 pts