Match Preview: FC Barcelona v Manchester City

FC Barcelona v Manchester City
Barça have the advantage from the first leg and will be looking to secure their place in the quarter-finals for the eight successive season

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.

Team news

Luis Enrique’s squad held their final training session at the Ciutat Esportiva before the second leg clash with Manchester City on Tuesday. Martin Montoya trained with the rest of the squad despite fracturing a cheekbone at the weekend in the team’s 2-0 win away in the league at Eibar. The full back is likely to be included in a squad that will be named by the coaching staff on the morning of the game. One who will not be included in the squad is Sergio Busquets as the influential midfielder was ruled out by Luis Enrique in his pre-game press conference on Tuesday. The ankle injury sustained in the second leg of the Spanish Cup semi-final victory over Villarreal means that Busquets and the recovering Thomas Vermaelen should be the only absentees from the squad to face Manchester City due to injury.

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.

Coaches’ viewpoint

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.”

Form guide

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.

History

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.

Coverage

No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. And remember, you can enjoy live commentary in English on Radio Barça. The link will appear at fcbarcelona.com just before kick-off. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.

The day before the big clash first hand

Inside View: The day before the Man City game
Training and press conferences from the inside with the build up to FC Barcelona v Manchester City

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Luis Enrique taking nothing for granted

Luis Enrique was discussing Wednesday's UCL game with Man City / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
FC Barcelona may have won the first leg in Manchester, but the first team manager knows there is still a difficult job to be done on Wednesday night

In his press conference before the Champions League game with Manchester City, manager Luis Enrique sent out a message of confidence in his players, although he is very wary that the job is still only half done.

2-1 may have been the perfect result at the Etihad, but “we are taking nothing for granted against City. We’ll treat it as we did the first leg and try to go out and win the match. It was be very dangerous to think we can settle for a draw.”

He is also confirmed that Sergio Busquets will play no part in Wednesday’s match.

The following is a selection of other comments made by the first team coach on Tuesday:

On winning the game

“Possession is one of our objectives in every game. That gives us a better chance of controlling the situation”.

“I expect a similar game to the first leg. Last year they also came here after a negative result from the first leg and they caused us a lot of problems”.

Quality opponent

“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”.

“City don’t look tired to me. I think they have every chance of turning this tie around and I’m sure they’ll be clinging onto that hope”.

“They are missing Clichy, but have a key player back in Touré. They’ll play with two forwards and depending on their approach, we’ll work out how we can cause them damage”.

No talk of Clásico

“There is only one game for us and that’s the one tomorrow. Nothing else matters to me right now”.

“Tomorrow’s game is sweet enough for me. It’s all I need for now”.

Magical night

“I sense that we are playing for a place in the quarter finals and that’s nice. We’ll be playing at home, in front of our fans, we’re in fine form and we hope to get a great result”.

“We need our fans to get us through moments of doubt”.

Iniesta hoping for repeat performance against Man City

Andrés Iniesta was speaking after training at the Ciutat Esportiva / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
“City have the players to turn this game around” said the FC Barcelona midfielder in his pre-match press conference

Andrés Iniesta knows that the team needs to be fully focused on Wednesday’s game with Manchester City, and  that there will be plenty of time to think about the Clásico against Real Madrid once the game with the Premiership champions is over.

“We feel confident about these two games but we also know we’ll be playing against two very difficult opponents” he said after the final training session before the match. “Perhaps tomorrow’s game is more important. And what better way to prepare for a game like Sunday’s than with a win against City? On Thursday we’ll start preparing for Sunday.”

He adds that “City have the kind of players who can turn this tie around … We have to go out with the same intentions as we did for the first leg and show that we are a team that is intent on qualifying for the next round.”

On how to beat Man City

“They have players, especially in attack, who can change a game at any time. We can’t make the mistake of thinking that winning 2-1 in the first leg was enough. We need to control the game, get the ball rolling and make them run”.

“Every tiny detail matters in the Champions League, and the only thing we’re worried about right now is beating City”

“City are even more dangerous with Touré in the team. His physical strength is a very important quality and makes them more decisive. We hope we can minimise his virtues.”

On the good morale

“The team has been in good shape for some time. But the hardest part is upon us and we’ll need to have our wits about us more than ever.”

“We know how the team is performing, how each player is performing, and what are chances are. We know that if we do what we have to do, then we have every chance of winning the different titles.”

On Neymar

“He’s a very important player. Not just because of his goals and assists. I don’t interpret such gestures as a lack of respect. Each person deals with things in their own special way. The most important thing about this team is the mutual respect that we have for each other.”

On Sergio Busquets

“He has been an essential member of the team for some time because of all that he contributes to the side. It’s a shame he’ll be missing but we have other players that are quite capable of taking over from him in that position, as they have already shown in other games.”

LIVE – Iniesta and Luis Enrique press conference

En directe, la roda de premsa de Luis Enrique i Andrés Iniesta / FCB
Iniesta and Luis Enrique pre-game press conference ahead FC Barcelona – Manchester City (Champions League)

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