THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Last 16 concludes on Wednesday evening. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from Lyon's trip to Barcelona.
Barcelona v Lyon | Wednesday 13th March 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
It was a surprise to many when this first leg ended scoreless. Goals had been a feature in both sides fixtures in this competition; Lyon saw an average of 3.80 goals per-game in the group stages with Expected Goals (xG) only slightly below that at 3.40 – Barcelona’s group stage games averaged 3.20 goals, that reflected their xG too.
It’s fair to say that the Blaugrana dominated that first encounter but were surprisingly profligate in front of goal. They created an xG figure of 1.86 and conceded just 0.23, winning the shot count 17-4, and will be frustrated that they couldn’t get an away goal which would’ve taken a degree of pressure off.
Nabil Fekir was absent in that stalemate and it was a major blow for Les Gones. He is back for their trip to the Camp Nou and his creativity and added goal threat will give the hosts plenty to think about.
Bruno Genesio’s troops are now 10 consecutive games unbeaten in the Champions League and with the counter-attacking threat of Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traore and Moussa Dembele, they’ll fancy their chances of exploiting the gaps left out wide from the hosts full-backs pushing up. It’s worth noting that Lyon have notched in each of their last five on the road in Europe.
I just think the price disparity between the two is slightly too big and naturally that takes me to the Asian Handicap markets. We can back Lyon with a +2 start at 11/12 (BetVictor) and that looks a generous line to get involved with.
This bet would see us profit if Lyon win, draw or lose by a goal – even if they lose by two goals exactly our stakes are returned – the only way we will lose money is if Barca win by three clear goals or more.
Les Gones have proven difficult to beat and have to fancy themselves for a goal given the fact the Spanish champions have conceded in six of their last seven home games in all competitions – those included contests against Leganes, Girona and Rayo Vallecano. Should Lyon bag, it gives this selection a great chance of landing.
Depay to try his luck
I’m also happy to take a punt in the Player Shots market – Bet365 go 10/11 that Depay registers Over 1.5 Shots, and it’s a bet I like a lot. Genesio could opt to start the Dutchman up front – like he did in the earlier parts of the season – if so, it makes this bet all the more attractive. They don’t even necessarily have to be on target as well which is an added bonus.
Of course, a relatively early Barca goal could help as it means Lyon have to come out. It’s highly unlikely that the visitors can keep their sheets clean though and it’s probable that they’ll have to attack the game at some point.
Depay is a player confident in his own ability and he’s no shirker on the big stage. He averages 3.10 shots per-game – more than any of his teammates; what’s more, he’s landed at least two shots in five of the six group stage games – even one of those was from off the bench.
Ernesto Valverde’s hosts actually give up an xG figure of 1.30 in La Liga with the same figure being mirrored in the Champions League. Dig a little deeper into that and we can see that they concede an average of 11 shots per-game in La Liga, but that figure rises to 12.40 when you look specifically at this competition.
Barcelona are far from watertight at the back and the aforementioned statistics back that theory up – 10/11 on one of the visitors’ key attackers to simply have two shots looks like great value.