Following its coronavirus-enforced hiatus, the 2019/20 Champions League is back up and running – albeit in Portugal, with a slightly new format. The newly formed single-legged quarter-finals are ready to get underway, and all eyes will be on Manchester City on Saturday night, as they take on Ligue 1 side Lyon, who shocked Italian champions Juventus in the Round of 16. With that in mind, let’s look at the five key talking points ahead of the clash. Read on to find out more!
City are firm favourites to lift their first European trophy
Not only are City heavy odds-on favourites to beat the Ligue 1 side and progress to the semi-finals – where they will face either Bayern Munich or Barcelona – but they are also the market leaders at 21/10 to lift the trophy for the first time – according to the UEFA Champions League odds. Guardiola won Europe’s elite competition twice with Barça but failed to add to his success during his three years at Bayern. The Spaniard will be hoping that it will be fourth time lucky with Man City this year. However, second favourites Bayern, and third favourites Paris Saint-Germain will also be hoping to get their hands on the cup!
Raheem Sterling is in red-hot form
Since football restarted back in June, Man City forward Raheem Sterling has been in red-hot form. The Three Lions star found the net in his side’s first game back against Arsenal, before scoring two weeks on the bounce against Newcastle United and Liverpool, respectively. Another goal against the Magpies, a hattrick against Brighton, a brace against Norwich, a 90th minute strike in his sides 5-0 rout over Norwich City, and a goal against Real Madrid last weekend takes his tally to an impressive 11 goals in 12 outings. Watch out, Lyon!
Man City are unbeaten so far in this year’s tournament
Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten in their eight Champions League games thus far, making them huge favourites in this one-legged fixture against Lyon. The Manchester side started their campaign strongly 11 months ago, beating Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, and Atalanta in their first three group games. Following successive draws against the Italians and Shakhtar, in the reverse fixtures, City topped the group comfortably with a 4-1 win over Zagreb. After being drawn against Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Round of 16, the Citizen’s faced, arguably, their first real challenge. However, Guardiola’s side won both legs 2-1, and they now have Lyon in their sights.
Guardiola could be keeping an eye on Lyon’s Houssem Aouar
Highly rated Lyon youngster Houssem Aouar is, reportedly, a transfer target of Manchester City. The 22-year-old’s ability to play anywhere in midfield has made him a top target for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, and Guardiola, who publicly praised the French youngster after their Champions League group stage encounter last season, could be keeping an eye on him come Saturday night. And, in City’s advantage, Lyon sporting director Juninho Pernambucano has claimed that he will likely be sold this summer.
Man City will be without their talisman Sergio Aguero
Man City have been without their talisman Sergio Agüero since he jetted to Barcelona for knee surgery back in June. Guardiola was hoping that he would have his club record goal scorer back in time for the latter stages of the tournament. However, whilst not all hope is lost on a recovery, they will have to rely on Brazilian Gabriel Jesus to the do the business in the meantime. The 23-year-old has been in good form recently too, scoring five goals in seven outings – including the winning goal against Madrid last weekend.