FC Barcelona vs Manchester City: Last step to quarters
Barça have the advantage from the first leg and will be looking to secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals for the eighth successive Seaton. Barça knocked out Manchester City at this stage of the Champions League last season and will be looking to repeat the feat on Wednesday at Camp Nou after the 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium last month in the first leg. FC Barcelona boss Luis Enrique boss named an 18-man squad on Wednesday morning, with Masip, Montoya and Douglas missing out, alongside the injured Vermaelen and Sergio Busquets. Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini welcomes back former Barça midfielder Touré Yaya to his squad after suspension.
Barcelona (FCB).- Barça knocked out Manchester City at this stage of the Champions League last season and will be looking to repeat the feat on Wednesday at Camp Nou after the 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium last month in the first leg.
Luis Enrique’s squad held their final training session at the Ciutat Esportiva before the second leg clash with Manchester City on Tuesday and the boss named an 18-man squad on Wednesday morning, with Masip, Montoya and Douglas missing out, alongside the injured Vermaelen and Sergio Busquets.
Manuel Pellegrini welcomes back former Barça midfielder Touré Yaya to his squad after suspension. The Ivory Coast international completed the last of his three game ban in the first leg and so will be available to face his former team mates on Wednesday at Camp Nou. However, French full back Gael Clichy is suspended following his red card in Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat last month at the Etihad Stadium.
Barça coach Luis Enrique appeared before the press on Tuesday at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper preaching caution despite his side’s lead from the first leg: “We’re playing against one of the favourites to win this competition. We’re only 50% through the round and you only have to look at their players to see how much potential they have.” Furthermore, the blaugrana boss dismissed claims that his side may be distracted by the upcoming Clásico against Real Madrid at the weekend: “There is only one game for us and that’s the one tomorrow. Nothing else matters to me right now."
Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini in his press conference on Tuesday at the team’s hotel in Barcelona was adamant that his side still had high hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League: “We have to repeat the good minutes that we had in the three games against them. If we can then we have a chance.”
A run of 16 victories from their last 17 matches has seen the blaugranes reach the Spanish Cup final and reclaim top spot in La Liga. The 6-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano in week 26 of the league, coupled with Real Madrid’s defeat in San Mamés against Athletic Bilbao, allowed Luis Enrique’s team to lead the league for the first time since 1 November of last year. A 2-0 win at the weekend away at Eibar on their first ever visit to the newly promoted Basque club means that remain a point clear of rivals Real Madrid in the Primera División.
Manchester City have struggled so far in 2015 - Pellegrini’s team have won just three of their last 11 matches in which time they have been dumped out of the FA Cup by Second Division Middlesbrough and slip to second place in the Premier League, six pòints behind leaders Chelsea with Jose Mourinho’s team also having a game in hand. The current Premier League champions have lost two of their last three matches, most recently succumbing 1-0 away at relegation threatened Burnley.
Ones to watch
Luis Suárez is coming into form just at the right time for Barça this season. The Uruguayan has scored six goals in his last five matches in all competitions for the blaugranes. Leo Messi scored his 32nd hat trick in Spanish Football in the win over Rayo Vallecano in the league, taking him past the previous record held by Telmo Zarra. It was also his 24th in the Spanish League, edging him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo on the all time list for La Liga.
Touré Yaya returns for the second leg for Manchester City after missing the 2-1 defeat in the Etihad through suspension. The Ivory Coast international helped his country to their recent triumph in the African Cup of Nations. The midfielder featured in every game in the tournament and in his absence Manchester City claimed just one victory, against Stoke in the league, underlining his importance for Pellegrini’s team. Touré Yaya spent three seasons as a blaugrana between 2007-10, winning two league titles and the Champions League title in 2009, beating his current club’s city rivals Manchester United in the final in Rome.
The clubs have met just three times in official competition, facing each other in the last 16 of the Champions League in 2013/14 and in the first leg of this season’s last clash. Barça have recorded wins in each of those games and at home to English clubs they have only lost twice in 29 encounters. The blaugranes have made it through 33 times out of 35 after winning the first leg in European competition and have lost just one of their last 30 home games in the Champions League.
Manchester City have won four of their last seven away game in the Champions League, most recently winning 2-0 away at AS Roma in the last match of the group stage to book their place in the last 16. However, the English side have won just once in their six previous visits to Spain in European competition. That win came against Villarreal in the group stage in 2011/12 with Touré Yaya scoring twice in a 3-0 win in El Madrigal.