UCL Preview: Manchester City vs Barcelona, Pep Guardiola plans to approach derby as if it were a final

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Pep Guardiola is approaching Manchester City’s clash with Barcelona this week as if it were a final and knows they need to be brilliant to win.

City host the Spanish champions at the Etihad Stadium by 7:45pm 1st November, a fortnight after being thrashed 4-0 at the Nou Camp.

That has left City facing a battle to qualify from Group C for the Champions League last-16 having also been held to a draw by Celtic.

images (28)City manager Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference, said: “I think we know what we have to do to beat them and hopefully our quality up front will make a difference

Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez celebrate one of Barcelona’s four goals against City when the sides met last time out in the Champions Leagueimages (29)

“We have to play in that way – like a final. It’s not a final for them, it is a final for us. There are just three games left and we dropped two points in Glasgow, so we have to recover those points in the next two games.

“We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke mistakes because of the quality they have.

“But we had a few chances and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we did in Barcelona.

“We will try. I have never entered a match thinking we can’t win but we have to play almost perfectly.”

Premier League leaders City go into the game having ended a six-match winless sequence with an emphatic 4-0 defeat of West Brom at the weekend.

images (31)Former Barcelona boss Guardiola said: “Winning the last game will help us a lot. When you play a game having won the previous one the feeling is much better. We play the best tomorrow and we’re going to try to win.”

images (32)Full-backs Pablo Zabaleta (foot) and Bacary Sagna (hamstring) are both set to miss the match with injury, while midfielder Fabian Delph is also unavailable with a muscle problem.

Willy Caballero will start in goal for City, with first-choice Claudio Bravo suspended after being sent off in the 4-0 loss in Catalonia.

images (33)

The visitors, meanwhile, will be without the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta, Jeremy Mathieu and Aleix Vidal due to injury, although Arda Turan is back in their squad.

Sergio Aguero got on the scoresheet against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday

Barcelona have won all five of their previous encounters with City; conceding only twice.

images (35)City suffered their heaviest Champions League defeat when these sides met in the reverse fixture, conceding four goals for the first time.

Guardiola is facing Barcelona as manager for the second season of his career; as Bayern Munich boss, he was knocked out by the Catalan side in the semi-finals of the 2014/15 Champions League.

City are unbeaten in their last six Champions League home games. They’ve never gone seven consecutive games without a defeat at the Etihad in the competition.

Barcelona have won their last three away Champions League games against English clubs, two of which were against City.

Barcelona have scored in their last 20 away games in the Champions League group stages.

There have been five red cards shown across the five previous meetings between these sides. Four of which being awarded to City players, only one of the five encounters has gone without seeing a red brandished.

Guardiola’s Barcelona were the best team I’ve ever seen but this Barca side are actually more dangerous on the counter-attack, they’re just nowhere near as solid the ba.

images (34)Everybody is making a big deal about the Sergio Aguero situation but Guardiola would play him in every match if he could. When you’ve got an injury problem you need to be managed properly.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has alsobsaid in a statement that it would be “unfair” to compare his striker Sergio Aguero with Luis Suarez of Barcelona

It’s a tough one to call but I can guarantee both teams will score here because City are nervous at the back, while Barca are also vulnerable and both sides are far better at attacking.

Luis Suarez is the favourite to open the scoring, closely followed by Lionel Messi, while Sergio Aguero is naturally considered the hosts’ main threat.

Barca are currently considered favourites to win the Champions League with City fifth in the betting.

About The Author

Sport writer based in lagos. Cool and easy going guy, like meeting and influencing the lives of people positively. Fun loving and takes life easy. You can follow me on twitter @Emmycool4u or www.Facebook.com/Emmy4real

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