Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Prediction: Manchester City vs Lyon

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

With many around Manchester believing that this could be the year they deliver European success, City will be looking to make a statement when they welcome Lyon to the Etihad on Wednesday night.

Manchester City

Starting with the hosts, although they may have failed to come past Liverpool in a 5-1 aggregate loss last season, Pep Guardiola’s side believe this could be their year. Yet to be beaten in any competition this season, Manchester City also boast a stellar record on home soil, winning every game at home this season, they have also scored 11 in their last three match in Manchester. In fact, they have now not lost a Champions League game at home since September 2015. Known for their goalscoring record at the Etihad, one man to watch for the Sky Blues could be English winger Raheem Sterling. Finding the net against Fulham last weekend, Sterling is averaging a goal every other game in the Champions League.

Team News

Defender Benjamin Mendy is likely to miss Wednesday’s match, but, top scorer Sergio Aguero has returned to training.

Long-term Kevin De Bruyne (knee), Claudio Bravo (Achilles) and Eliaquim Mangala (knee) are unavailable.

Boss Pep Guardiola will also be forced to watch from the stands as he serves a one-match touchline ban.

Lyon

As for Bruno Génésio’s Lyon side, although the visitors will be making their 15th Champions League appearance, more than any other French side, it has been a tough start to the new Ligue 1 campaign for Lyon. Coming off the back of a very disappointing 2-2 draw with Caen last weekend, they have only managed to pick up seven points out of a possible 15 at the start of the new season. It will also be their form on the road causing concern to Génésio, along with dropping points against Caen last time out, Lyon have also failed to come past Reims last month. Les Gones’ fans will also be worried by their record when up against English sides, the visitors have won just one of their last eight Champions League games against English opposition.

Team News

Lyon are without Amine Gouiri for the trip, with the striker continuing his recovering from a cruciate injury in August. Defender Fernando Marcal (calf) is also out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Lyon have only won one of their eight Champions League games against English opposition (D4 L3), it was against Liverpool at Anfield in October 2009.
  • This is Manchester City’s eighth consecutive Champions League participation – the longest current run among English clubs, reaching the knockout stages in each of their last five campaigns.
  • None of Manchester City’s 42 Champions League group games have ended goalless.
  • This is Lyon’s 15th Champions League appearance, more than any other French club.
  • Raheem Sterling has scored eight goals and delivered six assists in his last 15 Champions League starts for Manchester City.

Conclusion

On paper, it really is hard to see anything other than a routine win for Manchester City in their Champions League opener. Given the Sky Blues’ stellar record at the Etihad, only losing one European match over the past three years, coupled with Lyon’s struggles against English oppositions, we’re backing another impressive win for Guardiola’s side. Backing over 3.5 goals on Wednesday night seems like the safest bet here.

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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