Manchester City travel to France to take on Lyon with the English champions needing only a point to secure a place in the next round of the UEFA Champions League.
The plot of the story has changed tremendously since Matchday One, when Lyon emerged as surprise victors at the Etihad, beating Manchester City 2-1. Goals from Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir gave the French side a surprise win, and it looked like the Ligue 1 side will give Manchester City a run for their money.
However, since then Lyon have shot themselves in the foot, and the Premier League champions are on course to a place in the knockout rounds for a sixth straight season. Following that win at the Etihad, the hosts have managed to draw three consecutive group stage games – Shakhtar Donetsk and Hoffenheim twice.
Lyon sit second in Group F, three points adrift of City and three ahead of Hoffenheim. Although their position looks comfortable, a loss on Tuesday and a win for the German side could turn the tides in this group. Manchester City, on the other hand, have had contrasting fortunes to that of their French opponents.
Since their defeat to Lyon, City have won their next three games and made their position in the group unassailable. With nine points and top place in Group F all but sealed, the Citizens need a point to secure a place in the Round of 16, while a win will confirm their status as group winners.
But, Manchester City’s away record in the Champions League needs massive improvement, even if they are to be considered one of the favourites. City have only claimed three wins and lost two of their last five away trips in the competition. That aside, Guardiola will solely be focussed on getting his side over the line and possibly confirm their status as group winners
Team News & Tactics
Lyon received a significant injury scare as captain Nabil Fekir was taken off at half-time during the side’s win over Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1. Since then, Fekir has come out and declared himself fit to play against City citing the knock he received as nothing serious. Yet, only a late fitness test would reveal the extent of Fekir’s claims and a decision will be made of his availability before the game.
Former Manchester City defender, Jason Denayer was the man to secure Lyon their win with his goal in the league, and he can expect to retain his place in what looks like a three-man defence at the back. Manager Bruno Genesio is likely to make some changes to his side to face City, and many of it could come in the attacking lineup for his team.
Genesio could include Moussa Dembele in his lineup, and the former Celtic striker could lineup alongside Fekir. if the Lyon captain is fit. One player who is almost sure to feature is former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay, who has five goals in his last seven games.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Lopes; Denayer, Marcelo, Morel; Rafael, Ndombele, Aouar, Mendy; Fekir; Depay, Dembele
Last week Pep Guardiola’s side confirmed the absence of defender Benjamin Mendy for up to three months after the full-back went through knee surgery. Fabian Delph started in that position despite there being doubts over his fitness before the game.
Against Lyon though, the Manchester City boss could give Oleksandr Zinchenko a run out at left-back and probably rest Delph for the next league game.
In defence, Nicolas Otamendi, after being out for two months, got his first start against West Ham, although the Argentine could be rested against Lyon for John Stones to take up his place. Stones’ defensive partner could either be Aymeric Laporte or Vincent Kompany, although it should be the latter for Laporte played over the weekend.
Kevin De Bruyne remains out of the game, as he is yet to recover from the ligament damage he suffered during City’s EFL Cup clash against Fulham. However, there could be starts for Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva in midfield.
Up front, Gabriel Jesus is unavailable for this clash and not part of the travelling squad. Riyad Mahrez could come in and replace Raheem Sterling on the right flank.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Kompany, Zinchenko; Foden, Fernandinho, Bernardo; Mahrez, Aguero, Sane
- Manchester City are winless in France with their last two away games in the country resulted in a draw and defeat.
- Man City and Lyon will be meeting only for the second time with Lyon securing a win in their first game on matchday one.
- Lyon have lost only once in their ten European home games against English sides (Arsenal – February 2001)
- Lyon are also unbeaten in this season’s group stage so far with one win, and three draws so far.
- Manchester City are the highest scorers in the Champions League this season with 12-goals in their four group stage games so far.
Player To Watch
Riyad Mahrez has not started life at Manchester with flying colours. The Algerian winger has had his moments during this season both in the Premier League and the Champions League, but he needs a massive injection of confidence to get to his best.
Having shown flashes and not consistency, Guardiola has been inconsistent in picking him to start crucial games. The tie against Lyon is undoubtedly essential, and Mahrez could start. Games like these are essential for Mahrez to show his absolute quality on the pitch.
The Algerian winger needs a performance to convince his manager that he is indeed competing with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane for a starting spot and certainly justify the record sum that Manchester City paid for his services in the summer.
Lyon 1-2 Manchester City
Looking at the form both sides are in, it could be safe to predict a win for Manchester City. The English champions have been in rampant form of late, and Guardiola would want the same from his side in the Champions League. Additionally, City will be looking to exact revenge on Lyon for their Matchday One defeat.
Lyon, on the other hand, will want to ensure their qualification for the next round, and a draw could be enough to do that considering the other results in the group go their way. That said, the French side does lack the quality to do so when compared to City, and we expect the Premier League side to take all three points in France.