Lyon will be looking to make home ground advantage count when they take on Roma this Thursday.
On the surface of it, this looks to be one of the more glamorous ties going into this week’s round of Europa League fixtures. Additionally, both sides have become quite detached from their respective title races, meaning we should see two full strength sides this week - injury permitting. Lyon are on a positive run, despite only managing to draw with Bordeaux 1-1. Lyon have won six of their previous seven home matches in all competitions and will be hoping that the red-hot Alexandre Lacazette can power them to victory. Roma need to bounce back from a disappointing streak that has seen them lose three of their last four matches.
Lyon v Roma | Thursday 9th of March | Parc Olympique Lyonnais | 22:05
To Win (90 Mins)
Lyon 29/20 | Draw 47/20 | Roma 7/4
Bruno Genesio’s side have been in terrific, free-flowing form of late. They have scored an astonishing 31 goals in their last seven home matches, including 7 in their last outing against AZ in this competition. Their 4-3-3 formation looks formidable with Fekir and Depay playing alongside Lacazette. There is a dynamic quality that offsets some of their defensive issues.
Mathieu Valbuena looks set to miss out again, despite recently returning to the side with a thunderous strike against Metz. Defender Maciej Rybus also looks set to miss out through injury.
Lyon are well off the pace of Nice, PSG and Monaco in Ligue A, and having been eliminated already from both French domestic cup competitions, they will be prioritising this trophy. Former United defender Rafael has found a comfortable little niche for himself at Lyon and will likely have Mohammed Salah bearing down on him this week.
Clearly, Lacazette will be their greatest goal threat. The French striker has scored 27 goals in all competitions this season and is going to be a handful for a Roma side short on confidence at present. Their 4-2-3-1 system has looked too rigid of late and should be exposed by Lyon’s more fluid formation.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have gone into a virtual tailspin since that outrageous 4-0 away victory at Villarreal. They lost a Cup tie to bitter rivals Lazio, before losing at hope to perennial rivals for the number 2 spot: Napoli. They also have a couple of major injury concerns. Midfield lynchpin Radja Nainggolan looks set to miss out due to injury, while Alessandro Florenzi is also a major doubt. This will put a lot of pressure on De Rossi’s shoulders in midfield. His occasional petulance could be exposed as he will struggle to contain this Lyon midfield. Kevin Strootman is a fantastic player, but he isn’t one to just sit in the pocket and contain.
Mohammed Salah and Shaarawy should provide plenty of width for Roma, with Perotti likely to play just in behind Dzeko. Dzeko is clearly the talismanic figure driving this club at present. His unquenchable thirst for goal-scoring is the one factor that I see working in Roma’s favour this week. Lyon have conceded in many of their recent home matches, and Dzeko will be looking to exploit what is at best a decent back four. But their midfield just looks a bit threadbare at present, as is their confidence.
Verdict: Lyon 29/20
While it is never easy to discount an Italian side in Europe, I just feel that something of the feel-good factor has been drained out of Roma in recent weeks. That defeat to Lazio in the Coppa Italia really punctuated this process. Lyon are in ebullient mood and should be able to run Roma ragged.
Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.