Do you smell it? No, it's not what The Rock is cooking. It's the smell of a big game. The biggest of the season yet. Manchester City travel to Catalonia for a gigantic UEFA Champions League match against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Pep Guardiola became a coaching legend thanks to his job at Barça, and the reason he is the City manager heading back to Camp Nou it's because of what he did there.
Pep is maybe the star of the match, and he absolutely hates it. It's hard to know if Pep's humility is bigger than his managerial talent, but they're pretty close. Guardiola doesn't like the spotlight, yet he's so good at what he does and means so much to this particular match that the spotlight just looks for him immediately.
Guardiola's challenge on Wednesday is to forget about where he is, how much he loves the club he's facing and create the perfect gameplan to leave Barcelona with a result. The good news is: he's got the ability to do that, and he will look to beat Barça, as tough as it may be.
This Champions League night will be good.
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 8:45pm local time, 7:45pm BST (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (US), 12:15am IST (India, next day)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
TV listings: Fox Sports 1 (US), ESPN Deportes (US - Spanish), TSN4 (Canada), BT Sport 2 (UK), TEN 2 (India), elsewhere
Online streaming: Fox Sports GO, FoxSoccer2GO, WatchESPN (US), BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), elsewhere
Man City: Guardiola has no major injury concern or suspension to worry about, which is a giant boost for the toughest match of the season so far. Kevin De Bruyne played 90 minutes against Everton and there's no doubt the Belgian can do it again at Camp Nou. Vincent Kompany played four minutes against Everton and the captain is ready to play a lot more against Barça, and there is a big chance he'll start.
Claudio Bravo and Nolito, just like Pep, also meet Barça again, and the game will be special for them. Both will start, as well as David Silva and Fernandinho, without a doubt the two best CIty players this season. They'll need to be at the peak of their powers to defend against the Catalans and hurt them going forward, doing their best job to serve Sergio Agüero up front. The Argentine is low on confidence, but if there's a perfect stage for him to have a rebound game and score a few goals is this one.
The City defense is the major concern going into this game. Almost unbeatable during the perfect start to the season (10 wins in 10 games), the Citizens have conceded six goals in the last three matches, and there's no need to present the credentials of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar. Yeah, it won't be easy for Bravo to keep a clean sheet in his return.
Barcelona: Do they need any introducion? Oh, and they also have a full strength squad, including the MSN trio and a fantastic midfield. They're the best team in football by a mile, and coming off a sensational victory at the weekend, their confidence is high.
Barça are just too good, and it's too early in the Pep Era to have a team good enough to beat Barça. They will take this one, but Pep will scheme and City will put up a good fight, so it won't be easy for them. 2-1 for the home team.