Manchester City predicted XI v Barcelona

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Manchester City will be hoping to prove their european credentials tonight when they take on Barcelona in the first leg of their round of 16 clash.

The tie will see the two clubs meet at this stage of the competition for the second successive season and City will be desperate to get revenge for the 4-1 aggregate loss they suffered last campaign.

With the first leg taking place at the Etihad Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini's team will be keen to take an early advantage before they travel to Barcelona for the second leg next month.


Pellegrini has already vowed to set his team up to attack their Spanish opponents, having last season tried, and fail, to sit back and contain the likes of Lionel Messi and co.

That attacking intent could see a first start handed to Wilfried Bony, although his fellow Ivorian Yaya Toure is still suspended following his red card against CSKA Moscow in the group stage.

City have struggled without their dynamic central midfielder this season, although they did claim impressive victories over both Bayern Munich and Roma in the first two games of his ban.


Despite City being without their star man, Barca boss Luis Enrique insists there is no favourite tonight but Pellegrini will need to get his team selection spot on if his team are to come away with a win.


Having only linked up with his teammates this time last week, Bony was left on the bench for Saturday's 5-0 thumping of Newcastle, and he's unlikely earn a first start tonight.

His £25million arrival saw Stevan Jovetic dropped from City's Champions League squad but despite that sacrifice, Pellegrini will not rush him into the starting 11.

Although Pellegrini has promised an attacking approach, he may chose to revert to a five man midfield to stop Barca monopolising possession like they so often do.

That leaves space for just one striker and it's hard to see Sergio Aguero being left out of the team.


With Toure out and City likely to add a body to the midfield, Fernando will almost certainly be recalled to the team to start alongside compatriot Fernandinho.

James Milner could also go straight back in to the team having missed the Newcastle game through injury.

His energy will prove vital in the middle of the park, with City likely to find themselves chasing the ball for large chunks of the game. Alongside the Brazilian duo, Milner will be asked to break up play and get the ball to wide men David Silva and Samir Nasri.


Despite a promise to attack, Pellegrini must get his defence right if City are to have any chance of progressing to the quarter finals for the first time in their history.

Alarmingly there's only one man guaranteed a start in the back four and that's captain Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian has been partnered, unconvincingly, by both Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis this season and who gets the nod tonight is anybody's guess.

At full back, Gael Clichy has the defensive edge over Aleksandar Kolarov on the left while Pablo Zabaleta is the usual favourite at right-back, although Bacary Sagna has been chosen for a number of big games.

Predicted line-up

Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Nasri, Fernando, Fernandinho, Milner, Silva; Aguero.

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