On Tuesday night the Etihad Stadium will play host to two of the best attacking sides in world football.

If Manchester City can record what would be a famous win over Barcelona they will have gone a long way to convincing people that they are ready to challenge for Europe's premier competition.

It will be the first time that City have played in the last 16 of the Champions League and with the return leg being at Camp Nou, it is likely that they will need to win the first leg at home, so the game promises to be a feast of attacking football.

City head into the game with a genuine belief that they can overcome a team that has won the Champions League three times since 2006 and have swept teams aside almost at will.

However, the Manchester club are not misplaced in their confidence. Some of the irresistible sheen of Barcelona's tika-taka empire has dissipated slightly in recent years as teams such as Bayern Munich have shown the world new ways of playing.

The Bavarian's 7-0 aggregate trouncing of the Catalan club highlighted the defensive frailties they suffer from and they may struggle to deal with the power of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho in the City's midfield.

A repeat of the 7-0 scoreline is highly unlikely but City will feel that they can match Barcelona and come away with a positive result over the course of the two legged tie.

This week Jose Mourinho claimed that "this is the worst Barcelona of many, many years" and the Portuguese is not far of the mark in his assessment.

The core of the team that led Barca to unparalleled European and domestic success is ageing. With Xavi, 34, Carles Puyol, 35, in the twilight of their careers and Victor Valdes departing at the end of the season the squad is in something of a transition period.

The style of play to has changed with Tata Martino employing a slightly more direct approach, that, has to be fair to the new man brought the best out of the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez.

Key Barca players have acknowledged the need to adapt and are aware that they face a fight to regain their place at the top of the European football tree.

Gerard Pique has stated that Barcelona "can still be the best, but we have to show to the world we can do it". The club know that their star will wane even more should they suffer defeat to CIty and the Spanish international believes that the fear factor is less now than at any point in his Barcelona career.

Of course it would be foolish to dismiss Barcelona they do still  boast one of the finest teams in Europe and can still rely on the unequivocal talent of Lionel Messi.

The Argentine has returned to full fitness and seems to be firing on all cylinders again after becoming the all time highest scorer in Spanish football at the weekend.

Messi much like Barcelona is out to prove a point this season after Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or ahead of the diminutive forward and it is often the case that a beast is at its most dangerous when wounded.

Despite Barcelona's great quality this tie does represent a real chance for City to show they can replicate the kind of quality they produced in the second half of the 3-2 victory against Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena, and show they can consistently match Europe's top sides.

Pellegrini senses the chance for his side to stake a claim for a their first European crown this year and now feels his club is the best placed English side to do so. The Chilean stated in his press conference that "If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it is ours"

He added; "We are aiming to keep growing by winning many trophies - not just national but international trophies." The ambition is resolute and a win on Tuesday night would be the ideal spring board to fulfilling that ambition. 

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