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Prediction: Man City vs Barcelona

Verdict: Both team to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Bet365

It is make it or break it for Manchester City in the Champions League as the Citizens prepare to welcome Spanish champions Barcelona looking to make amends for the humiliating defeat at Camp Nou. The Catalans are one foot in the knockout stages, but will nevertheless be keen to pun another strong performance against their former boss Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City

Premier League side Manchester City simply cannot afford another slip up in Europe’s elite competition when they welcome Barcelona on Tuesday night. Having succumbed to a 4-0 defeat in Spain two weeks ago, the Citizens will be looking for a response that would effectively get them back in the running for the knockout stages. Pep Guardiola’s men have taken just one point from their last two Champions League Group C matches as Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach breathe down their neck in third place on the table. It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks for Manchester City who alternated between draws and defeats in their last 6 matches up to the West Brom visit. An inspiring performance at the Hawthorns and braces by Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan saw Citizens record a timely triumph, which will have surely done wonders for the team’s morale ahead of Barcelona visit. With restored sense of self-belief and confidence, the Citizens also head into the Tuesday night’s showdown eager to end the five-match losing run against the Catalans.

Team News

Pep Guardiola has no fresh injury worries ahead of Barcelona match. Fabian Delph is ruled out once more due to his muscular problem, while Yaya Toure’s struggles at City are well documented.

Right-back duo Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna continue to miss out with a foot injury and a hamstring strain, respectively, and Pep Guardiola will once again be faced with a stern selection problem alongside the right side touchline.

Barcelona

Spanish champions Barcelona have won all three games in the Champions League thus far meaning they only need a point from their trip to the Etihad stadium in order to secure their place in the elimination stage of the elite club competition. The Catalans are enjoying a fun run recently which saw them win eight of their last ten matches and Luis Enrique’s men will undoubtedly look to extend their purple patch when they travel to England. The Catalans are coming off from a 1-0 win over Granada which turned out to be a frustrating affair for Enrique’s men who in most part failed to materialise their on-field dominance at Camp Nou. Having made 15 goal attempts to Granada’s one shot off target, Barcelona struggled to impose their recognisable style of play which has been in a way influenced by the absence of a couple of Luis Enrique’s first-team choices. To make up the numbers for his sidelined stars, Luis Enrique turned to Barcelona B with Marlon Santos, Nili and Carlos Alena all in line to make a trip to Manchester after sitting on the bench against Granada last time out.

Team News

Arda Turan has been passed fit to feature against Manchester City, but Barcelona still miss a couple of first-team regulars as Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta continue to struggle with injuries.

Aleix Vidal has not featured since September and is yet to recover from an abductor injury, while Jeremy Mathieu is injured and suspended after being sent off in the last meeting of two sides.

Key Aspects to Consider

  • Man City ended their six-match winless run at the weekend
  • Barcelona won their last four matches in all competitions
  • The Catalans only need a point to secure their place in the knockouts
  • Man City lost last five meetings with Barcelona
  • The Catalans won 9 of their last 11 games on the road across competitions

Conclusion

Manchester City have a mountain to climb against injury-laden Barcelona, who only need a point from their trip to Manchester. We nevertheless expect to see an openly contested clash between rivals who will be eager to win and either restore of claim the bragging rights to their full extent. Both side have a couple of selection issues in their backline and goals might be of best value to bet on.

Verdict: Both team to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Bet365

Mon 31 Oct, 2016
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