It is unlikely to be a warm homecoming when Pep Guardiola returns to Camp Nou with his Manchester City side on Wednesday for their Champions League game. City’s last two Premier League matches have ended in sheer disappointment after flying to a fierce start with an unparalleled team.
After facing their first defeat this season at the hands of Tottenham Hotspurs, City really wanted to come back to winning ways in their match against Everton, who themselves had fallen off the pace after a bright start. Instead, they drew 1-1 after surprisingly missing two penalties by their star players Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne respectively.
Their opponents Barcelona, who, despite a shaky start to the season have got their act together and getting back Lionel Messi from the injury before the Champions League will give them a huge boost. Messi didn’t waste a second getting his name on the scoresheet after coming on in the second half against Deportivo.
T4O’s predicted Manchester City lineup against Barcelona at Camp Nou
Guardiola’s back three has actually been quite impressive irrespective of their recent disappointing Premier League results. The trio of Stones, Otamendi and Clichy have been quite unpredictable this season.
In Barcelona, whose prime threat comes from the flanks and through balls down straight, this formation might work effectively as City’s disciplined defending could be successful in shutting down Messi and Suarez’s threats. Aerial duels won’t be a huge concern against Barcelona. Passing accuracy, however, would be instrumental and Otamendi had a good 92% accuracy in that space in his last match. In total, Guardiola looks to have an assured backline, despite contrary beliefs. The likes of Kompany, Zabaleta and Kolarov further strengthens it.
It will not be fair to separate Guardiola’s midfield from his two wings, Sterling and Sane. However, such has been his tactics that the centre-forward at the front would be getting more than ample support from Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, and Sane. And if that falls short, Gundogan and Fernandinho’s distribution would find the marksman.
While it seemed Ilkay Gundogan sat deep with Fernandinho at the defensive midfield leaving Silva to dictate against Everton, they have worked at different levels. While Gundogan has finished 94 successful passes against Everton, Fernandinho had 4 successful aerial duels to his name. Hence, this is the position, which could really make the difference against Barcelona.
Now, here is a position, which seems quite debatable to Guardiola him. But, it seems against Barca, who play free flowing football and has a comparatively weak defence, Aguero would be the ideal choice to score early in the game.