How Man City can capitalise on Barcelona’s defensive dearth
Jamie Clark | 1 November 2016
Man City v Barcelona tips in light of visiting injuries
Manchester City supporters know very well that beating Barcelona is a tall order, but the Catalan giants are depleted in defence for their second Champions League group game.
Take out defensive lynchpin Gerard Pique, experienced pro Jeremy Mathieu, marauding left back Jordi Alba and an unsettled Aleix Vidal, and the travelling team from the Nou Camp can certainly be got at it.
A head-to-head record against Barca of five losses for the Etihad outfit isn’t encouraging, but City are not without their own merits if you back them with Coral for a home win on Tuesday.
Who can be a threat for hosts? Aguero wincast
Sergio Aguero is the hosts’ 13-goal top scorer in all competitions and is thus the feature of a superb 7/2 enhanced matchday special wincast (max stake €/£20). Only club captain Vincent Kompany and the Argentina frontman have netted against Barcelona previously, but never has their defence been so weakened.
Although Javier Mascherano remains available, the rest of the likely Barca back four have question marks against them. Sergi Roberto is a utility man down the right-hand side, while left-footers Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne are still bedding in after summer switches.
Both France internationals are yet to play 10 games for Barcelona, and this is surely something Man City’s stellar supporting cast of Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne can exploit.
Ilkay Gundogan is also showing a proclivity for chipping in with goals from midfield, and an impressive Premier League average of a goal every other game. He’s a 7/2 anytime chance to find the target against Barca.
“We have to play almost perfectly”
City boss Pep Guardiola is under no illusions about the task facing his players at the Etihad. “I think we know what we have to do to beat them and hopefully our quality up front will make a difference,” he said at his Champions League pre-match press conference.
“We have to play in that way – like a final. It’s not a final for them, it is a final for us. There are just three games left and we dropped two points in Glasgow, so we have to recover those points in the next two games.
“We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke mistakes because of the quality they have. But we had a few chances and have to keep going in that sense and try to finish better than we did in Barcelona.
“We will try. I have never entered a match thinking we can’t win but we have to play almost perfectly.” Siding with Man City to get close to perfection and beat Barcelona is certainly available at a rewarding price.
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