Barcelona should be wary ahead of the UEFA Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Lyon on Wednesday. The Blaugrana are naturally heavy favourites with the oddsmakers on home soil at the Camp Nou, but the hosts will be mindful of the away-goals rule after a 0-0 stalemate in the first leg.
Lyon are quick on the break and more than capable of making Barca rue the potential double jeopardy of any mistakes at the back. Manager Bruno Genesio will know the secret to keeping things close long enough to pinch a goal on the counter will demand keeping Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez quiet, which is no easy task since both are in prolific form.
Barca enter the match in the winning habit, even if Saturday's 3-1 victory at home to Rayo Vallecano in La Liga required more graft than the scoreline would suggest. By contrast, Lyon dropped two points in Ligue 1 after being held to a 2-2 draw in Strasbourg.
Date: Wednesday, March 13
Time: 8 p.m. GMT/4 p.m. ET
TV Info: BT Sport 3
- Barcelona: 1-4
- Lyon: 13-1
- Draw: 31-5
All odds, per OddsChecker.com.
Messi and Suarez were both on target at the weekend, and their double act should frighten every team left in the competition.
Suarez has helped himself to 20 goals so far this season but has yet to score during the Champions League campaign. Even so, Lyon will put too much focus on Messi and ignore Barca's experienced No. 9 at their peril.
Genesio's best bet will be to pack midfield and cut off the supply lines to the Blaugrana's deadly front two. It will mean a key role for sought-after powerhouse Tanguy Ndombele.
The 22-year-old, described by club president Jean-Michel Aulas as the "new Michael Essien," has been linked with Manchester United and Manchester City, per Sky Sports News. Like former Lyon, Chelsea and Real Madrid star Essien, Ndombele can overpower teams going forward, but he must curtail his attacking instincts at the Camp Nou.
Ndombele will also need the support of Lucas Tousart and Houssem Aouar. Playing three enforcers together can give the Lyon defence the protection it will need.
If a compact shape frustrates Barca, Lyon have the pace up top to spring a shock, with Bertrand Traore, Nabil Fekir and former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay.
A lot will depend on the visitors' ability to stay in touch long enough for tension to set in among the home supporters. Barca haven't been overly impressive recently, either in domestic action or in this tournament, yet Messi's form and the presence of Suarez should see them over the line in a tie set to be closer than expected.