Manchester City plays host to Barcelona in the first leg of the round of 16 in the Champions League and while they are the underdogs they will win. Man City is in third place in the England Premier League only three points back from a Chelsea team they beat in their last match.
No surprise that City is the underdog, as even though they won their last match they were winless in their previous two. That includes losing their first home match of the season to Chelsea at the beginning of this month.
Barcelona is tied with Atletico Madrid atop the La Liga table and they are unbeaten since their shocking home loss to Valencia on February first. Yeah, they are the favorites even on English soil, but should they be? In group play in the Champions League they had one win, one draw, and one loss. On top of that they were not in the toughest group.
Man City is playing in their first ever round of 16 match in the Champions League and in their last CL encounter they beat defending champion Bayern Munich in Munich.
Man City is solid on the set pieces and that has been the weakness of the Barca defense this season. Also City features the likes of Alvaro Negredo, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, who may give the Barca defense issues all match long. City will attack from the get go and if they can get solid MF play they have a great shot to win.
Vincent Kompany will be the player that will have to shut down Lionel Messi and he has been the rock for the City defense all season. Messi is looking to forget his injury woes, but he scored two goals in Barca’s last match and he will be tough to contain.
Yaya Toure and Sergio Busquets are two key midfielders in this match that will have to play well for City to win. Barca has a great midfield and kills opponents by dominating the time of possession. However, City has the talent in the middle of the field to thwart that, which will give Barca problems.
Barca’s defense has been stellar in the New Year, but they have not been playing great competition. In, possibly their two biggest matches in 2014 they played to a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid and lost to Valencia. On the other side of the coin Manchester City has wins over Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham in their last big EPL matches.