THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Last 16 continues on Tuesday evening. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from Lyon's tie with Barcelona.
Lyon v Barcelona | Tuesday 19th February 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
Lyon are hoping to once again upset one of the European big boys. Les Gones have beaten Manchester City at the Etihad, as well holding Pep Guardiola’s charges at home, whilst the Ligue 1 club drew with Juventus in Turin the other year.
You have to go back to October 2016 for Les Gones’ last defeat in the Champions League – the French side have W2-D7-L0 since. Bruno Genesio would probably see a draw here as a decent result as it gives them a fighting chance at the Nou Camp, the draw may be even more desirable given the absence of key man Nebil Fekir for this one.
The Auvergne-Rhone club have been the best of the rest in Ligue 1 this term and comfortably so. They’ve been an entertaining side too, creating and scoring plenty but also proving less than reliable at the back.
Lyon saw an average of 3.80 goals per-game in the group stages with the Expected Goals (xG) only slightly below that at 3.40. Barcelona saw their group-stage games average 3.2 goals per-game, a figure which mirrors that of the xG.
But what’s most telling is Barca’s propensity to give up chances. They only conceded an average of 0.80 goals per-game in their pool with Spurs, Inter Milan and PSV Edindhoven, however their xG conceded was at 1.4. Either the excellence of Marc Andre Ter-Stegen kept the scores down or they were just plain lucky.
Barca have a less than impressive record away from home in the knockout stages of this competition. The Blaugrana have only managed to win one of their last seven European road trips – that was against Arsenal in 2016. Many of those have been heavy defeats too – 3-0 at Roma last year, 3-0 at Juve, 4-0 at PSG and 2-0 at Atletico Madrid.
The betting angle
Lyon have scored two or more goals in five of their last six in the Champions League and its 13/8 for a repeat with Coral. Even without Fekir, the French outfit have Moussa Dembele, Maxwell Cornet, Memphis Depay, Houssem Aouar, Bertrand Traore and Martin Terrier who are all dangerous going forward.
Tanguy N’Dombele doesn’t seem to get enough of a mention, for me, though. The 22-year-old central midfielder displays effervescent energy, superb close control and has a keen eye for a pass. He wouldn’t look out of place at any club in Europe and he could run the show in the middle of the park given he passes a fitness test.
One thing the hosts will find hard is keeping tabs on Leo Messi. He continues to be probably the most influential player for any individual club on the continent. With him it’s hard to not see Barca notching, especially given Lyon’s shaky backline.
Two plays stand out here. The draw at 3/1 (BetVictor) looks a big price given it’s landed in Lyon’s last five in this competition and it’s also banked in two of Barcelona’s last 3 in Europe, as well as three of their last four domestically. Chuck in the dynamics of this tie and it’s a result that both sides wouldn’t be too upset by.
It also looks worth having a smaller play on the 2-2 correct score at a bulbous 12/1 (SkyBet). Given the fact the visitors have conceded at least two goals in their last four knockout away games. Lyon managed to draw every game at the Groupama Stadium by this scoreline in this season’s group stages.