How Will Manchester City Line Up Against Lyon?

For anyone reading the newspaper match reports following the Lyon two legged victory over Juventus in the last round, you would have been forgiven for thinking it was all about Cristiano Ronaldo. Such analysis gave little credit to a Lyon team who are likely to cause Manchester City many difficulties in the Quarter Final.

Manchester City have never beaten Lyon – drawing and losing in their only two games  so far back in 2018/19 during the Champions League group stages. Lyon impressed at the time with a tidy and confident display and took full advantage of some customary Manchester City defensive gifts.

Looking back to the defeat by Lyon at the Etihad Stadium one of the things lost in the mists of time is that it was the one match where Assistant Manager Mikel Arteta took charge, as Pep Guardiola was banned. Guardiola watched from the stands as his side were found lacking ideas in the final third.

I acutely recall the overly dramatic celebration of ex Manchester United player Memphis Depay right in front of us fans at the Etihad Stadium, and the guile during the game of Nebil Fekir as he picked our pockets.

Yet the Lyon side we are due to face on Saturday evening is much changed. Fekir has moved on. Ferland Mendy the left back who caused us so many problems now plays at Real Madrid and ex Celtic player, Moussa Dembele now leads the line.

Still there are some familiar faces. Depay will still be there to taunt us. Ex Manchester City player Jason Denayer is still showing he would still be useful to have around.

Most of the focus now though will be upon Manchester City transfer target Houssem Aoaur. The Lyon midfielder is a tidy and hard working player who helped overpower Juventus in the last round and looks ready for a move to a bigger Club.

Lyon are more than capable of sitting on the shoulder of City and waiting for their moment to strike. City will need to reduce any errors in order to progress into the Semi Finals for the second time.

Midfield will be a fascinating battle. The three of Lyon will sit deep, breaking up play and keeping things tight. How will City line up to cope? Will this be another double pivot with Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri holding fort at defensive midfield or will Pep Guardiola attempt to open up the game with a cavalier approach?

The bookmakers seem to believe City will keep the game tight and that only as Lyon legs tire, will City march into a lead. Certainly this knockout game will either be a careful match of tactical chess as each side cancels out the other, or a free flowing and pulsating game of all out attack. It is unlikely there will be anything in between.

Lyon may have finished the curtailed French League campaign in 7th place, with a runners up medal in the Cup Final but they should not be underestimated.

City must maintain both intensity and focus for another full 90 minutes in order to progress and not limp out of another Champions League competition bemoaning what may have been.

To this end Guardiola will I believe line up with some caution, but he will have options to try and steal the game on the bench if needed. After beating Madrid, City must progress, it is that simple. Of all the games since the restart, this is the one I have most looked forward to. Come on City!

Predicted Starting XI

Ederson

Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy

Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne

Foden, Jesus, Sterling