Next Wednesday, March 12, 2014 (12:45 PM Pacific), Manchester City will travel to Camp Nou in Catalonia to measure forces with Barcelona in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16. The Citizens are on a difficult situation after conceding a 2-0 defeat at home last month to the Blaugranas and they will not be able to rely on Martin Demichelis, who was sent off during the first leg after a late and controversial tackle against Lionel Messi. Barcelona, on the other hand, has everything in their favour, since they are playing at home and they brought a very positive result from the Etihad Stadium two weeks ago.
Tata Martino’s side is experiencing a complicating moment at Liga BBVA, after losing two of their last three matches, first against Real Sociedad and last weekend at the hands of Valladolid, where the team put up what was probably their worst performance so far this season. The Argentinian manager introduced a new tactical approach to Barcelona’s game, but the team is yet struggling to understand their head coach’s ideas. The team’s defence line looks pretty soft so far and they are proving to be very vulnerable when it comes to defend corners and free kicks.
The team’s game style has dramatically changed under Gerardo Martino’s leadership. It is quite common these days to watch Barcelona insist on direct football instead of the short passing possession football that helped them to achieve great things over the recent years.
As for Manchester City, things are also far from being brilliant. The team was defeated at home last Sunday in an FA Cup match by an inspired Uwe Rosler’s Wigan Athletic that threw the Citizens away from the competition. To make things worse, Manchester City’s boss, Manuel Pellegrini, will be forced to deliver his final talk to his players before the match just hours after receiving a UEFA ban due to his criticism towards the work of the Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson during the first leg’s match.
The Manchester City’s “goal scoring machine” seems to have slowed down their pace since the beginning of the last month and the team has only managed to score one goal during their last three English Premier League matches after the goal galore at White Hart Lane.
For next Wednesday’s match, the Chilean manager will have all his players at his disposal with the exception of Martin Demichelis, who was sent off during the last UEFA Champions League clash.
Barcelona vs Manchester City Prediction
Judging by both teams’ recent performances, the match at Camp Nou can surely go either way. The Citizens have a unique opportunity to avenge their home defeat and to prove that they still can take a stand at this year’s competition, while Barcelona just needs to simply control the match and look for a goal that would surely annihilate all of their opponents’ hopes of winning the game. This being said, the most likely outcome is 1-1.
Barcelona vs Manchester City Television
The match will be televised on Fox Sports 1 USA.
Valdes – Dani Alves – Piqué – Mascherano – Alba – Busquets – Xavi – Fabregas – Neymar – Sanchez – Messi.
Manchester City (4-4-2)
Hart – Zabaleta – Kompany – Lescott – Kolarov – Touré – Fernandinho – Milner- David Silva – Aguero – Negredo