Monday, February 23, 2015

Manchester City vs FC Barcelona Champions League 24-02-2015

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Manchester City vs FC Barcelona
Competition: Champions League, 2014/2015 - Round of 16 (first leg)
Match date: Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Kick Off Time: 19:45 GMT - 7:45 pm
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, United Kingdom

Man City team have been handed a chance at revenge in just their second-ever trip to the Champions League Round of 16. In their first visit to the knockout round last season, they fell to the Spanish giants 1:4 on aggregate with 2 critical errors from Demichelis and Zabaleta, with the former dooming City’s chances at the Etihad with a 54th-minute red card and penalty concession. Bad news comes in the form of yet another suspension for the hosts, who will be forced to play without their midfield lynchpin and former Barcelona man, Yaya Toure. However, confidence will have been restored to the Manchester camp over the past 3 weeks, as they thrashed Stoke City 4:1 and then dismantled Newcastle 5:0. Sergio Aguero bagged 3 of those total 9 goals and has begun to find his scoring form just in time as they head into this critical clash with Barcelona. Still, they will likely be forced into a more defensive approach here and hope that the likes of Jesus Navas and Aguero can utilize their speed on counter-attacks. Ultimately, a draw appears to be the best-case scenario here for the English hosts.
FC Barcelona team saw their 11-match win streak snapped over the weekend in a stunning 0:1 home loss to Malaga. The letdown in concentration was perhaps expected a bit with their critical showdown against Man City approaching, but their inability to find the back of the net despite having over 70% of the possession is admittedly rather worrying. However, Luis Suarez returns to England here with loads of Premier League experience, and it’s not often that Messi is kept quiet for back-to-back games. They can score goals in bunches and have proven so with 25 goals over their last 6 competitive outings and 15 goals over their 6 UCL group stage matches. They defeated the Citizens last season 4:1 on aggregate and are certainly the favorites to qualify from this round. Their South American attack trio is simply to strong and will be able to make the comeback if they do indeed fall behind. Another victory at the Etihad could be on the cards here, but a draw is the more-likely scenario in Manchester.

Probable lineups:
Manchester City: Hart – Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy – Silva, Fernando, Fernandinho, Nasri – Aguero, Dzeko.
FC Barcelona: Bravo – Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Rakiti?, Busquets, Iniesta – Suarez, Messi, Neymar.

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]

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