By William Hill
Last Updated: 27th November 2018
Nabil Fekir expects to shrug off the adductor injury that saw him substituted against Saint Etienne at the weekend in time to face Manchester City at Stade Groupama, but Lyon’s recent susceptibility to late goals could be more damaging to their chances than a half-fit talisman.
Fekir netted the decisive goal in Les Gones’ 2-1 victory over City at the Etihad and the opener against Hoffenheim in the hosts’ last Champions League outing, yet Bruno Genesio’s men have a better record this term in matches when the 25-year-old hasn’t made the starting XI.
Lyon, who are as long as 6/1 in the match betting, have won 30% of the matches in which the World Cup winner has featured in from the off in 2018/19, which rises to 75% of games in which he was either a substitute or didn’t play.
Even last season, when Fekir contributed 18 goals and 10 assists to the cause in Ligue 1 alone, Lyon won a greater percentage of games in which he didn’t start (62%) than those he did (58%).
Of course, it would be disingenuous to suggest Les Gones really are better without a player of his calibre, but, equally any descendants of JD Rockefeller, lottery winners or Emirati royalty considering backing Pep Guardiola’s side at 2/5 in the 90 minutes odds needn’t be put off if he starts either.
Late concessions have held Lyon back in the race to reach the knockout rounds
What may prove more damaging to Lyon’s attempts to put further breathing space between themselves and nearest pursuers Hoffenheim is their recent vulnerability to late goals.
Genesio’s side would be ahead of City atop the group, but for shipping 90th-minute equalisers in both bonces of their double-header with the Germans.
William Hill go EVS that there’s a goal between the 81st minute and full-time, while odds on Man City bagging between the 76th minute and the final whistle are 21/20.
Both sets of prices look like choice picks on the basis of Lyon’s inability to shut up shop as closing time approaches, while minutes 76-90 (including injury time) are responsible for a greater percentage of this season’s UCL goals (22.6%) than any other quarter-hour sections that precede them.
City don’t let up when the game’s done and dusted either
Worryingly for hosts who’ve been left to rue late lapses of concentration recently, the Etihad outfit have been finding the net inside the last 10 minutes on the regular of late, with Leroy Sane’s gluttony for goals a key factor.
They’ve netted five times during that timeframe across their last four matches, while three of the German international’s last four goals in his past five club outings were scored in the 90th minute or later – Sane is available at last goalscorer odds of 5/1 in Lyon.