Reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City will get a second crack at Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona in the European Champions League starting on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The two sides met last year in the knockout stage round-of-16 with Barcelona emerging victorious 4/1 on aggregate. This match will be taking place at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester with the second leg being held at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on March 18.
Bet365 lists Man City at to 5/2 win this game with Barcelona 1/1 and a draw at 13/5.
So far in this year’s tournament Barcelona has outscored City 15 to 9 and won their group while City finished runners up in theirs. Ivory Coast internationals Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony have returned to City following the recent African Cup of Nations event, but Toure is suspended for this contest. Bony was acquired from Swansea City during the recent January transfer window and has yet to play a game for the team. He’s expected to get his first action with Manchester on Feb. 21 when they take on Burnley in a Premier League encounter.
This will be Barcelona’s 11th straight appearance in the round of 16 stage while it’s just City’s second overall. Barcelona has won eight and dropped two of their past 10 knockout ties and have reached the quarterfinals in seven consecutive seasons. Barcelona beat City 2-0 in Manchester last campaign and returned home for a 2-1 victory. City only had themselves to blame though as they had a player sent off with a red card in each of the games.
City finished second in Group E in this year’s group stage after earning just two points in their first four games. They managed to beat FC Bayern Munich of Germany and Italy’s AS Roma in their last two matches to advance. They’ve won just three of their last 10 home games in European competition and have two wins, two draws and a loss in their last five home meetings with Spanish opposition. Barcelona is looking for their fifth European championship, but they haven’t had much success in England over the years with a record of seven wins, eight draws and 14 defeats.
City has been struggling since 2015 arrived while Barcelona has been red hot lately. Their attack is three-pronged with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez all able to play up front. Messi recently scored his 23rd Spanish league hat-trick to tie Cristiano Ronaldo’s record and Suarez is finally starting to fit in with his teammates and is playing to his potential. City can counter up front with their own three world-class strikers in Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Bony. Barcelona is without Thomas Vermaelen for the remainder of the season with a long-term injury.