It will be an emotional night for both Barcelona fans and Pep Guardiola when Barcelona take on Manchester City in the second game of the Champions League group stage on Wednesday. Guardiola, who used to play for the Blaugrana and also used to manage them during their indomitable period almost 10 years ago, will return to Camp Nou with his new contingent Manchester City.
After a 100% start to the season, Manchester City have faced a mini-crisis now that they are winless in their last three games. A loss to Spurs and two draws against Celtic and Everton has made the fans a bit edgy and they’ll expect their team to put in a solid performance against the former Champions League holders.
Barcelona suffered a shock defeat themselves before the international break, losing 3-4 to Celta Vigo but responded with a 4-0 rout against Deportivo on Saturday. Luis Enrique changed his system to 3-4-3 in the weekend but is likely to switch back to 4-3-3 against Manchester City. A win will make Barcelona’s progress to the next round almost certain and will put Pep Guardiola in further pressure.
Here is the predicted Barcelona lineup against Manchester City.
German custodian Marc-Andre ter Stegen will definitely keep his place under the bar. The young keeper cannot afford to make any mistakes against the Sky Blues. Sergi Roberto missed the Deportivo game with a minor injury but the Spaniard is likely to make his way back to the starting XI coming back from the hamstring injury.
The centre-back pair is likely to be Gerrard Pique and Javier Mascherano even though Samuel Umtiti is back from injury. Lucas Digne is likely to keep his place in the left-back position. It will be too soon for Jordi Alba for a comeback and Enrique is unlikely to take a risk with the fitness of one of his key players.
Sergio Busquets will start at the base of midfield in the regista role. The Spanish international has to offer his best in order to stop the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero and his compatriot David Silva. Busquets will look to break down Manchester City attack and will spray passes from the deep towards his teammates.
We expect Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic to start as the two box to box midfielders providing the creativity and industry in the middle of the park.
Pep Guardiola will get to have a taste of the beast he created as Lionel Messi is back from injury. He made an immediate impact after coming back from injury with a goal off the bench against Deportivo. Luis Suarez will start up front spearheading the attack. Neymar will start on the left flank.
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