UCL Matchday 5: Lyon's African cast set to slow Man City's momentum
Manchester City’s first and only defeat in the 2018/19 football season came against Olympique Lyonnais back in September at the Etihad. It was an opening group match of the UEFA Champions League campaign where Nabil Fekir, Ivory Coast’s Maxwell Cornet and Memphis Depay were at the centre of proceedings as the Ligue 1 outfit registered an impressive unlikely victory. It’s on again, Pep Guardiola’s City have a chance to exact some revenge or to be humbled once more as they take flight to France on Tuesday.
The notion of Manchester City assuming the status of Europe’s most deadly team is not so far fetched now. After a record breaking title winning premier league season last year, they look to be continuing from where they left from. It’s difficult to find any other club in Europe’s top leagues that has been equally as impressive. Of course Lyon’s league mates in PSG are still spotless but then you would have to consider the context. It is matches like the loss against Lyon or the one against Liverpool in the UCL quarter-finals last season that cast some doubts on Manchester City as a whole and their standing amongst Europe’s elite clubs. If there are matches that are more important to Manchester City and their continued successes, it’s such a continental match against Lyon that they have proven to easily lose in recent times. They will be heading into this one fully aware of the need to tighten their grip on so called lesser teams.
On the other hand, second placed Lyon, both in the champions league group F and on the French Ligue 1 standings will be a tough opposition. They may be far off the pace from PSG in the domestic league but are still yet to lose a game in the UCL this campaign. They are three points off City and face convincing opposition from Hoffenheim who also look keen on the champions league knockout spots. Of major interest, will be Lyon’s African blended attacking setup that proved to be a difficult presentation for City in the last time out. All of Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore, Mousa Dembele of Malian descent, Fekir of Algerian descent, Ndombele of Congolese heritage, Ivory Coast’s Maxwell Cornet and the inform Dutch forward in Memphis Depay will all be options available to take the game to City.
It’s a must watch, loads of fun on show and ofcourse, we will be closely following it.