Barca will be too strong and avoid miraculous Man City comeback
Barcelona have progressed to the next round on 32 out of 34 occasions that they have won the first leg away tie against opposition in European competitions. They are heavily odds-on at 1/25 to qualify for the Champions League quarters against Manchester City and 8/13 to win in 90 minutes.
The Sky Blues (50/1 to win this competition) have won just twice in six games against Spanish opposition since 2008 – both against Villarreal – and now face the daunting task of facing four-time European Cup winners Barca at the Nou Camp.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side go into this last 16 second leg tie with Barcelona 2-0 down, following their home defeat, and it looks very unlikely that the Sky Blues will progress to the quarters with odds of 10/1. They are 9/2, however, to win on the night in 90 minutes.
Calamitous centre back Martin Demichelis, who also conceded the penalty in the FA Cup quarter-final loss to Wigan, was sent off at the Etihad to gift Lionel Messi the opener from the spot, and City will be pleased he is unavailable for this match. Joleon Lescott is likely to deputise.
Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is odds-on at 4/6 to grab another here, while he can be backed at 13/2 (third-favourite) to win the competition’s Golden Boot. The Argentine genius is currently on seven Champions League goals this season – four behind leader Cristiano Ronaldo (1/2).
Despite City having a poor record against Spanish clubs, they do have Messi’s compatriot on their books in Sergio Aguero. The former Atletico Madrid forward has scored six times in 10 La Liga games against Barca, and can be backed at 8/1 to score first or 11/4 at anytime.
Aguero, who has 26 goals in 27 appearance this season for City in all competitions, also has the interesting stat that in the two games he has netted twice against Barcelona, his team have gone on to win the match. Back him at 14/1 to bag a brace or more again.
City’s highly improbable cause will not be helped by the fact that their manager Pellegrini begins a two-match European touchline ban. Assistant Ruben Cousillas will take his place.