Manuel Pelligrini was brought in at the helm of the Manchester City with one primary aim to better their European performances. Having qualified from the group stage, the Chilean has certainly done that but it would be absolutely criminal if the Sky Blues would have to exit the competition without putting up a fight, something they are known for. The Catalans look to keep their Champions League on track after suffering a set-back in the league and losing further ground on their Madrid rivals. The irony of the teams as they head into this tie is that as the 2 giants had come off resounding wins as they head into the first leg and as of today they head into the second leg coming off surprise defeats.
Just 10 days ago when Manchester City were basking in the glory of their Capital One Cup Final triumph over Sunderland, Manuel Pelligrini openly challenged his team to go ahead and challenge for a rare quadruple haul of trophies. The idea of overturning a 0-2 deficit at the Camp Nou against Barcelona seemed achievable. However, the humbling defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup has left the Sky Blue challenging for maybe 2 and a half trophies with the 2nd leg looking like a pretty daunting task now. Playmaker Samir Nasri prefers to focus on the positives and states that the defeat to Wigan can only be taken as a wake-up call ahead of the massive job at hands in Spain. City will be without the services of young Serbian defender Matija Nastasic and Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic as they both are side-lined by injuries. Martin Demichellis will miss out due to the red-card he picked up in the first leg; whether that’s a blessing in disguise is for City fans to decide. Manager Manuel Pelligrini will begin his 2 match touchline-ban but the biggest new of all is that talismanic Argentine forward Sergio Aguero will be fit and ready to start the second leg against the Catalans.
Barca boss Gerardo Martino still believes that the Spanish title isn’t out of reach despite being 4 points behind Real Madrid. However, the Barca manager has made it clear that he will not allow his team to take this game lightly even though they have a 2 goal advantage. The Catalans enter this tie with a more or less fit squad. Only Issac Cuenca and Jonathan dos Santos miss out due to injury. Barcelona are vary to the threat of Sergio Aguero. The former Atletico Madrid is not only a summer target for the Spanish giants but also a wrecker-in-chief during his days in the capital. Argentine defender goes as far as saying that Aguero might just be his worst nightmare at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
A tight game tilting towards the favour of the Catalans heavily but you can never rule out a side that won the title in the last 3 minutes of the season. A surprise result may be on the cards.
Prediction: Barcelona 1 – Manchester City 3.