Finally, we're back to European football. It seems like ages ago that City pulled off the incredible escape against Bayern Munich and then at Roma to advance to today's date against the Catalans. It was at this stage of the Champions League last season that Barcelona dumped City out of Europe, which makes this a great test for Pellergini. City come into the match riding a bit of a hot streak while Barca stumbled against Malaga at the weekend, losing 0-1. Most eyes will be on this match, and City have a lot to prove.
In the UK the match will be beamed to you on ITV, with streaming on Sky Go. FOX Sports 1 and Fox Soccer2go in the States, and ESPN in Australia. Full global listings.
Lineups are in:
TEAM NEWS @MCFC: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Milner, Nasri, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero #MCFCB— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) February 24, 2015
Barça XI: 1. Ter Stegen 3. Piqué 4. Rakitic 5. Sergio 8. Iniesta 9. Suárez 10. Messi 11. Neymar 14. Mascherano 18. J.Alba 22. Alves— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 24, 2015
SUBS NEWS @MCFC: Caballero, Sagna, Mangala, Fernandinho, Lampard, Navas, Bony #MCFCB— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) February 24, 2015
Wow. Pellegrini opts for the 4-4-2. This is either incredibly bold, or incredibly naive. Maybe both? Milner over Fernandinho at CM, which is something we've rarely seen. Dzeko up top with Aguero. Marty D over Mangala. Will it work? Will it backfire? If there's one thing we knew all along, it's that regardless of the lineup and the tactical setup, City will have to be at their best across the board tonight to come away with anything, and that still holds true.
Barca's lineup was predictable as expected. Pellegrini's personnel decisions indicates attacking intent tonight, which is something that wasn't so much the case in this fixture last season. Let's hope the result is different from that match as well.