Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Prediction: Besiktas vs Olympique Lyon

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 13/5

Bookmaker: bet365

Besiktas have their backs against the wall in their UEFA Europa League quarterfinals tie against Olympique Lyon. The reigning Turkish Super League champions can still reach the tournament’s semi-finals, but things will not be easy following the 1-2 loss in the first leg. A win would sneak them into the next round, but any other result would end their European dreams for good.

Besiktas

Besiktas are on track to win the Turkish Super League for a second straight year, and they are in a comfortable position thanks to a five-point advantage over Istanbul Basaksehir with seven games to play. It is not a decisive lead by any means, but it is one that will allow Senol Gunes’ men to focus entirely on the European stage for at least one more week. Besiktas will have a big advantage as they will close the tie at home, and there is no question they can play in front of their own crowd because they are yet to lose in Vodafane Arena (2W 3D) on European competitions. Their main problem will be on the defensive side of the ball, as the Turkish side has not kept a clean sheet in those five previous games.

Besiktas have never reached a UEFA Europa League semi-final before, so this game will be one of the most important ones in club’s history. And considering they have scored at least once in eight of their last 10 matches across all competitions, at the very least they are going to put up a fight and make things difficult for Lyon. We know they can score. But if they want to find themselves among the top four teams in the tournament, they will have to tighten things up defensively.

Team News

Besiktas will be quite shorthanded ahead of this game. Ricardo Quaresma, Rhodolfo, Ersan Gulum, and Caner Erkin are out due to injury. And both Vincent Aboubakar and Marcelo are suspended.

Tolgay Arslan, Caner Erkin, and Oğuzhan Özyakup would miss out on a potential semi-final first leg if booked.

Olympique Lyon

Lyon are coming off a stressful week that ended with their game against Bastia postponed due to riots generated by the opposing fanbase. They have the upper hand in this tie following the 2-1 during the first leg, but it remains to be seen how the team will respond away from home. Playing in Turkey is quite complicated, and Lyon does not have a very good record outside Parc Olympique Lyonnais. They only have two wins (2W 2D 6L) in their last 10 away contests.

However, they feature an experienced squad that is not going to rattle on a tough environment. And having one of the most prolific strikers in the continent also helps. Alexandre Lacazette is having a career-year with 30 goals and four assists in 39 matches across all competitions. His presence, alongside the likes of Mathieu Valbuena, Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir, ensures Lyon will always represent a threat to the opposing defence. And considering their advantage on the first leg, maybe one goal is all they need to sneak their way into the tournament’s semifinals.

Team News

Rafael is out with a one-game suspension. Maxwel Cornet, Sergi Darder, Christophe Jallet, Alexandre Lacazette, and Lucas Tousart would miss the next match if booked.

Valbuena and Emanuel Mammana are doubtful, and both will require a late-fitness test to determine whether they will be available or not. Their chances of playing are slim, and both would need a miracle to feature on Thursday.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Besiktas have not lost in five European games at Vodafone Arena (2W 3D)
  • Lyon have only lost one of their last four European away games (2W 1D 1L)
  • Lyon have scored 18 goals since entering the competition in the round of 32 (3.6 goals per game)
  • Besiktas are riding a six-game undefeated streak at home across all competitions (5W 1D)
  • Lyon only have two wins in their last 10 away matches (2W 2D 6L)

Conclusion

As noted above, Besiktas have not kept a clean sheet playing European games at home, and Lyon have a strong attack but struggle away from home. Considering Besiktas is quite shorthanded and Lyon’s poor record on the road, I believe this game will likely end in a draw.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 13/5

Bookmaker: bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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