Tuesday February 25 2020
Juve can't be complacent in Lyon

Juventus travel to Lyon for the first leg of their Champions League clash on Wednesday and Vilizar Yakimov warns that the Bianconeri can’t afford to underestimate the French side.

It’s very rare to see a domestic league game getting more attention than a Champions League knockout stage one. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to Olympique Lyonnais and Juventus, as the upcoming Derby d’Italia and the Coronavirus situation in Italy have somewhat overshadowed the game on Wednesday.

While Maurizio Sarri’s men can consider themselves rather fortunate to draw Lyon in the Round of 16, they should be extremely careful with their approach for the first leg in France.

The tight Scudetto race, the fact that arguably the most anticipated game of the Serie A calendar will be played behind closed doors as well as the health emergency in Italy mean there are plenty of distractions for Juventus, who would be dead wrong to underestimate Lyon.

Despite their shaky start of the season, the French side have improved gradually throughout the campaign and now enter the decisive months in a much better position than they were initially.

At one point in October, Lyon had just one victory in 11 games and were wandering in the bottom half of the League 1 table. However, those struggles seem to be long gone now, as Rudi Garcia’s men have now lost only two of their last 15 games and have climbed up to 7th place.

Lyon’s recent results show that the ex-Roma tactician has now managed to find some balance after the injuries that key figures like Memphis Depay, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Youssouf Kone and Leo Dubois suffered in December.

The French side’s home form has been crucial for their positive streak since the start of the year, as the Kids are still undefeated at the Groupama Stadium in 2020 with their last defeat being a 1-0 loss to Rennes on December 15.

If Lyon’s home form isn’t enough of a concern for Juventus, the away performances of the Bianconeri should worry Sarri and co. The Turin Giants have lost two out of their five visits in 2020, with neither of their performances being convincing enough.

Inexplicably the Bianconeri almost always struggle to impose their authority during away games even against inferior opposition and Lyon would hope that would be the case on Wednesday as well.

The home side can count on Rudi Garcia’s Serie A expertise, as well as on Joachim Andersen who has been a key piece at the heart of Lyon’s defence since moving from Sampdoria in the summer.

Lyon’s backline currently looks much better than it did earlier in the season, as they have kept three clean sheets in their last five games. This looks even more impressive, considering that Garcia has been jiggling with his line up and has been switching between a three and a four men defence occasionally. That being said, each of those clean sheets came when Lyon played four at the back, so the ex-Roma tactician would probably use the same approach against Juventus.

Depay’s injury has been a huge blow in attack, but fine domestic form of Moussa Dembele, who has netted 14 league goals, as well as the emergence of Houssem Aouar have done the job domestically so far.

However, Dembele is yet to score a goal in the Champions League this term, while Aouar has netted only once in the competition, so one of Lyon’s biggest weaknesses against Juventus is undoubtedly their attack.

The French side had a fine record of nine goals in six games in the Group stage, but with Depay scoring five of those, the home team would be desperate for Dembele to find his scoring touch against Juventus.

Lyon are the clear underdogs against Juventus, as the absence of Depay and other key players strip them off from their attacking potency. On the other hand, the form of Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as the inconsistency of the hosts’ defence, makes it really hard to imagine the Bianconeri not scoring at least once on Wednesday.

However, Sarri has already admitted several times throughout the campaign that his players didn’t have the right approach for certain games. The Scudetto clash with Inter is just around the corner, so even more than the shaky away performance and the quality of the opposition, potential lack of concentration and complacency will pose the biggest danger for Juventus against Lyon on Wednesday.

Have your say...
Love reading the comments prior to the game. Humble pie methinks. I had money on Juve to lose. I won. Only Atalanta from the Italian teams will go through. Napoli might be good enough to knock out Barca as they play better away and Barca have all kinds of problems at the moment. Juve to go out with a draw at home.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 12:31pm
Sacking Sarri is a very short sighted solution - but the easiest option to appease the fans. The truth is that this is a very average team with an absolute shambolic midfield. Every Tom, Dick and Harry who is out of contract has ended up in that midfield and sooner or later you will pay the price. Paratici is not even 1/2 of the chief officer Marotta is. The truth is Juve will never win CL, unless they change their mentality and approach on the transfer market.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 9:44am
Truth be told, juventus' midfield is the worst it's been in years. Pjanic bentancur rabiot are the same type players. They need a world class player that can create something in midfield like an isco or coutinho. You'd think dybala could be that but he plays too far up. And if they go out to lyon I think ronaldo will call it quits and move on
on the 27th February, 2020 at 7:47am
that should have been 1-1. Dybala was taken down in the box in front of the ref
on the 27th February, 2020 at 1:21am
Sack Sarri, what a looossserr
on the 26th February, 2020 at 11:05pm
if juve can't beat lyon over two legs with the kind of quality they have in their team and the complete lack of quality in lyon especially considering depay is still out than sarri needs to be sacked at the end of the season.

There is no such thing as a easy game in the champions league but come on seriously that would be beyond complacency if juve won't to go through.
on the 26th February, 2020 at 6:43pm
The shake up of the starting 11 happened at the right time. I see a comfortable win, it's the return leg i'm scared of.
on the 25th February, 2020 at 7:15pm
Think juve will smash this one, league form and cl dont line up when it matters for the bigger teams so I think there will be a few shaky moments but ultimately juve will win by 2 or 3 if Lyon give up, the return leg will then be a nervy encounter where Lyon take the lead and we grind it out to a win. Dybala scores 2 in first leg I think.
on the 25th February, 2020 at 4:19pm
They can't be complacent anywhere!!
on the 25th February, 2020 at 3:43pm
Juventus will have to play Dybala and don't just defend. I have got a feeling we need a goal in Lyon to progress and avoid to loose.
on the 25th February, 2020 at 3:16pm
No way Juve will win this one. Either we'll lose, or snatch a draw. That's just how it is.
on the 25th February, 2020 at 1:14pm
Taking Lyon for granted will surely be the biggest threat to Juve.

This is the draw they'd have wanted, so now it's time to mke sure they don't mess it up by taking Lyon for granted.
on the 25th February, 2020 at 10:41am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.