This Thursday evening sees the return match of the last 32 Europa League tie between Olympique Lyonnais and Tottenham Hotspur. Andre Villas-Boas side will have been very relieved to come out of last week’s first leg with a 2-1 victory following a late Gareth Bale free kick. The tie is still on a knife edge however with Lyon having secured a vital away goal meaning a 1-0 victory at the Stade de Gerland would be enough to see the French side through.
Tottenham goalkeeper and French captain Hugo Lloris has compared this game to a Champions League match rather than a Europa League encounter, and he isn’t wrong. Both these sides have Champions League pedigree and it was only unfortunate circumstance that prevented Spurs qualifying for that particular competition this season. Lloris was rested for last week’s battle at White Hart Lane but is likely to play in his home country on Thursday.
Lyon come into this game off the back of an impressive 4-0 victory over Bordeaux on Sunday with two goals from Clement Grenier, and one each from Gueida Fofana and Alexandre Lacazette. Spurs on the other hand had a week off due to their early exit from the FA Cup and have only had this game to prepare for. Andre Villas-Boas is meticulous in his preparation and the fact his side will have had a full week to work on their tactics for this games makes me think that Spurs should just have the edge.
As far as a betting selection goes, it’s hard to look past Gareth Bale as an anytime goalscorer in his current rich vein of form, and I fancy the final result to be a score draw. You can bet on football at Unibet who make Lyon their favourites to come out on top here. However, Spurs are the favourites to qualify for the next round due to their goal advantage from the first leg.
The match kicks off Thursday 21st February at 6pm and can be seen live on ITV4, Sky Channel 120.