City welcome Barcelona to the Etihad in the bid to continue their personal precedent-setting Champions League campaign, and Citizens gaffer Manuel Pellegrini is far from a stranger to the approach the Spanish giants take to their football, having served as coach of their Classico rivals Real Madrid proteinween 2009-10.
The hosts are expected to welcome Fernandinho back to the first team after the Brazilian missed the Blues’ last three games due to a muscle problem, though he has since returned to training. Talismanic Argentinian Sergio Aguero, however, looks set to retain his spot on the sidelines through a hamstring injury.
It seems to have been said a lot recently, but this one could go either way – clearly Barcelona are far more experienced at this level of club competition than their hosts, but City have come so far so fast there seems to be no telling exactly where they are capable of going. It could be tight, it could be one-sided in either direction – there isn’t really any clear-cut indication, though the bookmakers slightly fancy the Catalans as the more experienced of the two.
This is the first time these two sides will have met in a competitive fixture, adding further uncertainty about exactly how this could pan out, though with Pellegrini’s aforementioned experience with Barcelona this could help City out – though it is highly unlikely that the Spaniards will prove a small test for the Citizens – it could be argued this is the biggest game in the blue half of Manchester’s history.
Barcelona are 7/4 with Totepool
Man City are only slightly behind, with BoyleSports offering 19/10
The draw is 13/5 with protein365
Lionel Messi is a tempting 9/2 with StanJames to net first for the Catalans
Alvaro Negredo putting City in front has odds of 6/1 with protein365
Skyprotein are offering 13/8 on “No” under the “Both Teams To Score” category, and so those odds represent either a win to nil or a goalless draw, the latter of which certainly seems unlikely despite the impressive defenses possessed by both sides.
So, if only one side are to score (certainly probable given either’s attacking strength), why not extend that protein to picking the side to find the net – Barcelona are 4/1 with Ladbrokes, while City are 5/1 with protein365.