Champions League: Should Manchester City fear Lyon?

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay damaged his cruciate knee ligament on 15 December; he would have missed the rest of the season but lockdown helped him return for the Champions League
Champions League quarter-final: Manchester City v Lyon
Venue: Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon Date: Saturday, 15 August Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live; text commentary, report and reaction on the BBC Sport website and app

They have sailed past Real Madrid. Now, all that stands between Manchester City and a Champions League semi-final place are the seventh-best team in France.

The bookmakers - in the UK, anyway - have Pep Guardiola's side as favourites to lift the famous trophy for the first time.

But should they be worried about Lyon? Where might they trip up when the sides meet in Lisbon on Saturday night?

BBC Radio 5 Live's Euro Leagues Football Show sat down to discuss the tie this week...

Been there, done that?

On the face of it, City are overwhelming favourites to beat Rudi Garcia's Lyon young team.

After all, Lyon have won only four of their last 12 official matches in all competitions.

But Juventus were also big favourites and still were dumped out by the French side.

Lyon also have the advantage - merely psychological or not - of facing City twice last season in the group stage without defeat, including a fine win at Etihad Stadium.

French football writer Julien Laurens: "City should be worried after the results last season when, OK, it was a different Lyon, and the key players have all left.

"But if you are Lyon, you look at those games and say 'we have done it already, maybe we can produce it again'.

"They will have the same approach, defend deep and exploit any mistakes that City could make and be very clinical.

"They certainly believe. No one thought they could beat Juventus and Cristiano [Ronaldo] over two legs and they did it."

Pressure? What pressure?

Manchester City have reached one Champions League semi-final in their history, while Guardiola has now gone nine years without lifting the trophy.

The Spanish manager is aiming to reach his eighth semi-final, which would be a joint record for a manager in the competition alongside old nemesis Jose Mourinho.

This week 48% of BBC Sport readers picked Bayern Munich to win the tournament for the first time since 2013 - but City were second pick on 30%. Tellingly, Lyon registered 0% of the vote.

Laurens: "Lyon arrive here with absolutely no pressure, all the pressure is on Guardiola and Man City.

"Guardiola is under so much pressure because people keep repeating he hasn't won it since 2011, and he hasn't won it without Lionel Messi in his team."

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague: "Let's kill a myth. Pep has never been asked to win the Champions League. Not once. He has nothing to prove, but he is trying to take City to the next level.

"That's the pressure - to take them to the next level."

Do City rely on De Bruyne too much?

City were blown away in the Premier League title race by Liverpool this season, but were excellent in both legs to beat European giants Real.

Without the injured Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus stepped up, but it is midfielder Kevin de Bruyne who remains arguably the best footballer in England.

The former Wolfsburg midfielder was directly involved in 33 Premier League goals this season (13 goals, 20 assists), the most by a central midfielder since Frank Lampard's 36 for Chelsea in 2009-10.

Stop De Bruyne, stop City?

Kevin de Bruyne

Belgian football writer Kristof Terreur: "De Bruyne is the star man of the season for all Belgians, with Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku.

"Belgian people still think to win the Champions League, he needs to move to a different team. I don't agree but people still think he is not at the right club because of what happened in the last few seasons at City in this competition.

"He hasn't done it in a semi or a final and at his age we expect him to do it in the big games. It is his time now."

Balague: "City are the best team in the competition with Bayern and they have shown it in important games - they did it against Real Madrid. For them to succeed they have to go back to what they were last season and be much more effective.

"They had 14 clear chances against Real Madrid and how did they qualify? Two mistakes. They need everything to click, not only with De Bruyne - the best midfielder in the world - they need Raheem Sterling to be effective. Jesus was outstanding against Real but can he do it again and again and again?"

Stand-out performers

Since lockdown Lyon have been resolute in taking Paris St-Germain to a penalty shootout in a domestic cup final, and then shutting down a Ronaldo-inspired Juventus.

They are compact, with a slick and tidy midfield three of Maxence Caqueret, Houssem Aouar and Bruno Guimaraes all aged between 20 and 22. Energy should not be an issue.

Defensively they are very sound, only conceding 27 times in 28 league games and 10 times in eight Champions League clashes this season.

If Lyon can score first, City could be in for a frustrating evening. And if they do, it will probably be thanks to former Manchester United misfit Memphis Depay.

Depay has scored in six successive Champions League games - Ruud van Nistelrooy is the only Dutch player to go on a longer scoring streak in the competition's history (a run of nine in the 2002-03 campaign).

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