The odds are very much stacked against Manchester City as they travel to Barcelona needing at least two goals to make it through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time.
The first leg was another failure for the Premier League champions against one of the very best sides in Europe, in what is beginning to become an annual occurrence. A sluggish first half showing was published by a merciless front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, who scored a brace.
A marginal improvement after the break brought City a goal, but they are very lucky to come into this one with even a slight chance of turning the tables on the Catalans, after Messi was denied from the penalty spot in the dying stages. And after Saturday’s tame effort at Burnley, it appears they need all the help they can get here.
While Manuel Pellegrini’s side have fallen a long off the pace in the league and now face a battle to even remain in the top four, Barcelona have taken huge strides in recent weeks, hitting the top thanks to capitalising on Real Madrid’s dip in form. This is a big week for them, with the Clasico coming up at the weekend.
With such a strong front three to contend with at the back, City must be cautiously attack-minded in their approach, and they must avoid falling victim to another dominance of possession from Barca. They also need David Silva and Sergio Aguero to be at the top of their game.
Samir Nasri could return to the Man City after not featuring at Burnley, and Yaya Toure is able to play after missing the last three Champions League games through suspension, but Gael Clichy is out.
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