One of the most interesting matches of the round will see Lyon entertain Real Madrid at Gerland and with both sides in good spirits following the comprehensive wins at the weekend, we should see a very interesting match. Real are the favourites here but los Merengues will have to prove that on the pitch if they want to make it to the next round.
Jimmy Briand does a Rooney
Lyon had a very slow start to the season, losing four of the first seven league games, but les Gones were brilliant at the start of the Champions League campaign, having won first three group games. Claude Puel’s side then started showing some improvement on domestic stage only to start struggling in Europe, making their fans wonder if the season would turn into an utter disappointment. Nonetheless, les Gones managed to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, while back to back victories over St Etienne and Nancy took them to fourth place in Ligue 1, restoring the confidence at Gerland before the decisive season battles. Despite being in very good scoring form, Lyon are likely to adopt more cautious approach against Real as they are aware of the opponent’s attacking potential, and they will look to keep fourth successive clean sheet in home games against the side from Madrid.
Lisandro Lopez misses out through a hamstring injury, with Jimmy Briand likely to replace him in the starting line-up. Ederson remains long-term worry, but all other footballers are fit to play.
Can Real break the Lyon curse?
If there were a team Real wanted to dodge in the Champions League draw it was certainly Lyon and nobody can blame them for that seeing that los Merengues have lost last three meetings at Gerland. Nonetheless, this looks like the perfect opportunity to break the curse as Real are flying high at the moment, whereas Lyon have not been too impressive this season. Los Merengues have rediscovered their form after the Osasuna defeat and they are now on a four-match winning run, which puts them in the driving seat for the Lyon game. Jose Mourinho has really patched up team’s defence as his side kept three clean sheets in last four games and they will definitely be looking to keep the good run, as witnessed by the fact that Mourinho ponders a formation with three defensive midfielders. Everything suggests that the Portuguese boss will adopt a very cautious approach, so we are unlikely to see a lot of goals.
Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to start as a lone striker as Mourinho looks to stop Lyon from testing Iker Casillas, with Diarra, Xabi Alonso and Khedira set to start in the centre of the park. Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil should play just behind Adebayor.
Even though both sides boast plenty of attacking potential we are unlikely to see goals galore at Gerland as Claude Puel and Jose Mourinho will be looking to keep a clean sheet rather than focusing on attack. Games between Lyon and Real rarely produce a lot of goals, so my advice is to bet on under 2.5 goals.
Our prediction: Under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.93 (37/40)