Pep Guardiola managed to arrest his worst ever run of results in his career as his Manchester City side put in a clinical performance against West Bromwich Albion in a 4-0 victory at the Hawthorns. This result saw City keep their place at the top of the table ahead of their crunch tie against Barcelona in the Champions League this weekend. Luis Enrique’s side was less than impressive in their 1-0 victory against Granada at the weekend and it looked like most of the players were saving themselves for this showdown. The City will hope that the home advantage can help them get the better of the Catalan giants on the night. Here is the preview of this game along with the team news, predicted lineups, predictions and betting odds:
The UCL group stage game between Manchester City and Barcelona will be played on Tuesday, the 1st of November at the Etihad stadium in Manchester. The kick-off is scheduled at 7:45 pm BST (12:15 am IST on Wednesday).
Pep Guardiola has no new injuries to worry about as Fabian Delph, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta are the only players missing this game at home. Sergio Aguero was bizarrely dropped in the first leg but he is expected to return to the first team after an impressive game at the Hawthorns. However, Claudio Bravo, who picked up a red card in the return fixture will be missing this game through suspension.
Luis Enrique on the other hand has plenty of injuries to worry about. Andre Iniesta and Jeremy Mathieu are out for a long time while Alexis Vidal, Arda Turan and Jordi Alba are also absent for this game nursing injuries while this game comes a bit too early for star defender Gerard Pique as well.
Caballero; Stones, Kompany, Kolarov; Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Raheem Sterling; De Bruyne, Silva Aguero
Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Umtiti, Mascherano, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic, Rafinha; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Lionel Messi vs Vincent Kompany:
A battle on the field cannot get better. The Manchester City defender will know that he will have to stay strong and he will do everything he can to keep Messi at bay. But the quality of the Argentine will keep testing Kompany throughout the game and this battle may decide the outcome of the clash.
Sergio Aguero vs Samuel Umtiti:
Another Argentine who is sublime for this season, Aguero, will be up Umtiti this week as the duo will face off in an intense clash at the Etihad. Aguero is fresh from a brace at the weekend while Umtiti helped his side to a clean sheet at the Camp Nou. Surely this is a battle worth the wait.
With the win in the first leg clash, Barcelona have maintained the 100% win record against Manchester City in Champions League meetings. The previous 4 meetings were in the round of 16 in two consecutive seasons – 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Pep Guardiola faced Barcelona as an opposition manager on three occasions and lost twice and won once. Both defeats were in away games and he won as the home manager.
City are 12 games unbeaten at home (W8 D4), dating back to March.
The Citizens haven’t conceded more than one in seven home games.
Sergio Aguero has scored six goals in his four European appearances this season, both hat-tricks (v Steaua Bucharest in a Champions League qualifier and against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the group stage).
Willy Caballero’s penalty save at the Camp Nou ensured Barcelona have missed 11 of their 27 penalties taken in all competitions since the start of 2015/16.
City and Barcelona have met five times in the Champions League, with the La Liga side emerging victorious in all five.
Barcelona need a point to book their place in the round of 16.
Barcelona are one of three sides with 100% records.
Leo Messi has scored five goals in five games against City, including a hat-trick in the last meeting.
Manchester City: 7/4
The 4-0 drubbing at the Camp Nou was not a fair notion of what Manchester City achieved at the Cam Nou. In their they were humiliated but the first half performance from his side will give Guardiola plenty of confidence going into this game. But Barcelona looked lethargic at the weekend as they saved themselves for Tuesday and if they are on a roll on the night, there is not much that City can do.
Our Prediction: Manchester City 2-3 Barcelona
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