While everything was looking streamline for the Catalan giants since the Dawn of New Year, the recent defeat at the hands of mid-table side FC Malaga might cause their form a hitch. Sitting 4 points adrift of Real Madrid in LA Liga, Barcelona would eye this fixture to be a turning point of their season.
Here is how FC Barcelona are expected to lineup against Manchester City: –
Having kept 14 clean sheets already in the Premier League this season, 8 of which came in the opening 8 matches, Bravo is currently regaining back his form after an expected dip in form before the festive period. Although he hasn’t started a single game for Barcelona in Champions League, this fixture might allow him to make his Champions League debut.
Running out on his last year of contract with the Catalan giants, the recent form of the Brazilian has reaped doubts in the minds of Barcelona faithful. It was a result of his error that lead to a goal by Malaga as Barcelona experienced their first defeat in LA Liga in 2015.
Although his form last season was far from being productive for Barcelona, the tall Spanish defender has overcome his defensive monsters this season. He will start alongside Dani Alves.
When Barcelona signed a 30 year old defender last summer, eyebrows were raised as the defender, despite being in his 30’s, wasn’t a house hold name in Spain. However, give credit to Luiz Enrique for utilizing him more efficiently, Mathieu has been progressive for Barcelona this season.
Amongst all defenders that Barcelona have at their peril this season, Alba has started more league games than any other player in a Barcelona shirt. He has started 20 games for the Catalan giants this season.
Being termed as the successor for Xavi Hernandez both at the Spanish and National level for his respective teams, the 26 year old has epitomized his game this season. With no Xavi to assist him, Busquets has started more games for Barcelona than ever before, and looking at his form, he has fortified the interest which Luiz Enrique enshrined in him this season.
When they say that stats don’t lie, they can’t provide a clearer picture than in the case of the Spaniard. Even though he has delivered a series of below par performances for Barcelona this season, lack of options in Barcelona midfield will allow him to make another attempt on Tuesday. He has failed to assist a single goal for his team-mates this season.
When Barcelona signed Rakitic from Sevilla in the summer, he was immediately compared with the German Toni Kroos who made his move to the Bernabeau during the same time. And looking at the stats thus far, Rakitic has failed to go above Kroos in terms of goals scored and assisted.
Having registered 23rd clean-sheet of his Barcelona career, Lionel Messi would be a huge threat for Manchester City on Tuesday. Being on top form of late in LA Liga, Lionel Messi has the capability to drown Manchester City on his own.
During his time with Liverpool in the Premier League, Luis Suarez failed to register a single win at the Old Trafford in the Premier League, with his only victory at the Etihad coming in the Capital One Cup. Thus, when Barcelona will pay the Citizens a visit, Luis Suarez would be hoping to set his record straight.
Although Luis Suarez was tipped to be the stardom player for Barcelona behind Lionel Messi this season, Neymar has epitomized his form and left the Uruguayan lagging by epitomizing his game. He will start on the left-striker role.
Manchester City Vs Barcelona will be played at the Etihad, on Tuesday 24th February at 20:45 GMT [Match Center]