FC Barcelona vs Manchester City: Match preview and predicted line-ups

FC Barcelona vs Manchester City: Match preview and predicted line-ups

Pep Guardiola will return to his former stomping ground hoping to make Manchester City just the second English team ever to have won at the Camp Nou, following in the footsteps of Liverpool in 2007, on what is their third trip to Barcelona in the last four Champions League seasons.

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Barcelona responded to defeat before the international break at Celta Vigo in the best possible way by seeing off Deportivo with ease at the Camp Nou on Saturday with a 4-0 victory. Their start to the season has not been the best, but that has in part been down to Luis Enrique resting key players against weaker opposition in the league and slipping up as a result. In theory, that should make them better than ever when they come up against quality opposition like City.

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Manchester City have been stuttering of late after an impressive start to the campaign, following defeat at White Hart Lane against Tottenham and draws either side, against Celtic in their last Champions League game and against Everton this weekend as Nolito rescued a point having seen his teammates miss two penalties having dominated the game throughout but failed to take their chances.

Predicted Line-Ups

Barcelona predicted starting XI                     Manchester City predicted starting XI

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Luis Enrique is expected to field his so called ‘gala eleven’ with his eleven best players expected to start. Samuel Umtiti returns from injury and will likely get the nod ahead of Javier Mascherano, with Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto also returning from knocks. Lionel Messi is also likely to start for the first time since injury as one of five changes.

Pep Guardiola is also expected to make changes, primarily with Sergio Aguero coming back into the starting eleven, and reverting to a back four with Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksander Kolarov filling the full-back positions.

Injuries and Suspensions

Lionel Messi is in line for a first start since suffering a groin injury against Atletico Madrid, having scored just 145 seconds after coming on as a substitute against Deportivo at the weekend. Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto are also all likely to return after picking up injuries before and during the international break, but second choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen will miss out on a place on the bench with an ankle injury.

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This tie is likely to come just too soon for Vincent Kompany to start on his return from injury, with Fabian Delph not far behind him in terms of recovery. Bacary Sagna is the only man who is certain to miss out with a hamstring problem with Pep Guardiola close to enjoying a fully fit squad for the first time since arriving in Manchester.

Our Prediction

Both sides have quality and stars in abundance in what is likely to be a tactical battle between the two giants. This game will be one of the closest of all of the group stage fixtures in the Champions League this season, if City aren’t at their very best, it’ll be a Barcelona win, but if they do turn up then they could make life difficult for Luis Enrique and co.

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