18th of February 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
The mighty Barcelona face their first European test of 2019 as they travel to France to face Lyon at Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-sixteen tie. The two sides have last met at the same stage of this competition back in 2009 and Barcelona pulled through as they defeated Lyon 5-2 at Camp Nou after a 1-1 draw in France. In 2007 the two sides were in the same Champions League group and Barcelona won 3-0 at home before being held to a 2-2 draw in Lyon. Overall, Barcelona have won four of the six direct matches, while Lyon have never defeated the Catalan giants.
Lyon had a very good Champions League run this season as they finished the group stage undefeated, a remarkable achievement considering that they were in the same group with Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham. It is also true that they won just one of their six group matches, but that was enough to finish second behind the Citizens. The domestic season is going pretty well too, they are currently third in Ligue 1 and they won six of their last seven matches in all competitions. Tuesday's match will be difficult for Lyon because their star player, Nabil Fekir, is suspended, while Amine Gouiri and Rafael are injured.
Barcelona are going for a treble this season, they are leading the table in LaLiga and they are on track to reach the final in the Spanish Cup, but they will need to be at their peak to reach the final in the Champions League. They finished the group stage unbeaten but they did get held to a couple of draws, first at Inter and then at home by Tottenham. Now the Blaugrana have managed to end a streak of three consecutive draws in all competitions with a 1-0 victory over Valladolid in LaLiga last weekend. Arthur, Rafinha and Jasper Cillessen remain sidelined, but Samuel Umtiti might make his return to action against his former club after having been sidelined by an injury since November.
Lyon: Lopes - Dubois, Marcelo, Morel, Mendy - NDombele, Tousart, Aouar - Traore, Dembele, Depay
Barcelona: Ter Stegen - Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba - Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal - Messi, Suarez, Dembele
My prediction: Barcelona to win 3-1, the Blaugrana should be able to guarantee their qualification before the second leg.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Lyon win - 4.50
Draw - 4.00
Barcelona win - 1.80
5th of March 2019
12th of March 2019
It's obvious who's the favorite in that one but lets not forget Lyon didn't loose once in their meetings against other CL favorite in the group stage so I think they have the class to at least make it difficult for the Catalan grand.
I don't think Barcelona are in their best shape lately but certainly they''ll put their best effort in this one and trying to decide the tie even after just the first game.
Hopefully Lyon won't allow that...my prediction 2-1 to the French side.
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