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City v Barca: Match Preview

City vs Barca, Pellegrini in the last chance saloon.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

The League is out of question and the manager is hanging on by his fingertips, this game represents the last hope of the season for Pellegrini and City. Impotent against Burnley at the weekend, City will need to produce a huge performance to overcome Barcelona on Wednesday, a team not used to losing at home in the Champions League. In the past six seasons Barca have lost twice at home in European competition, once to eventual winners Bayern Munich in 2012/13 and a shock group stage defeat to Rubin Kazan in 2009/10. Going to the Nou Camp in search of a win has been a quixotic enterprise for most.

The mood amongst City players is bullish and they have come out strongly in the media, backing the blues to pull off a shock result in Spain. Will it happen? Obviously Barcelona are the heavy favourites and going into this game in the form City have recently exhibited will not provide much hope for the City faithful, but there have been bigger upsets in Champions League history and City certainly have the quality to pull it off. Here's a look at the line-up Pellegrini may go with.


Pellegrini has persevered with 4-4-2 for most of this season with varying success. The last leg saw Barca play through an ineffective City midfield while Aguero and Dzeko toiled to make the most of what little service they received. A possible solution to the midfield permeability is to go with a 4-5-1, trying to saturate the midfield while providing a little more cover for what has been an extremely shaky back four. The extra man in midfield will give the likes of Toure and Silva license to push forward an support Aguero without over-exposing City to Barca's counters.


The back five will have to work hard against the most potent attack in world football, and Pellegrini may well opt for experience over form. Kompany should start despite his recent form and paired with Demichelis will provide experience if not much pace. Zabaleta will start on the right and will have a busy evening keeping Neymar quiet. With Clichy suspended Pellegrini has Kolarov and Sagna to choose from, either will have to be on top form to deal with Messi and co. Hart will have a busy night.


City will need combative and energetic performances in midfield to stand a chance of coming away with anything from the game. As usual, our Atlas holding up the world will be Toure, and City will need a heroic performance from the Ivorian. Fernando should take the field beside Toure in a holding position, giving Yaya more room to roam. This pairing will be the crucial pivot on which City's success depends.

Starting Silva, Nasri and Milner should give Aguero the support he will need and if Fernando and Toure can hold the back end steady City may find some joy from a dynamic attacking midfield trio. Milner will work hard and don't be surprised if he pops up with a goal or an assist.


Aguero will fight a lonely battle up front but his goal in the last leg has given City hope that their crusade through Europe is not over yet.