Manchester City have had a baptism of fire in The Champions League – being drawn in tough groups and getting a few cuffings along the way. Accordingly, many Manchester City fans were aghast when Barcelona came out of the hat to face them in the 2nd round of the biggest club tournament in football.
But now they have begun to understand the competition they are demonstrating their undeniable talents in Europe aswell as at home.
Over the last couple of weeks Manchester City have made Bayern Munchen look like a bunch of error-prone school boys and spanked Arsenal. Under Manuel Pellegrini they look more dangerous and complete a side than ever. As far as we can see all bets are off concerning the next Premier League champions.
While Liverpool are playing their best football in 20 years and the Machiavellian Mourinho will always make his sides competitive, the evidence to support another Manchester City title is overwhelming.
All this means that Barcelona would surely have been more disappointed with the draw than Manchester City. In fact, having finished top of their group, the draw represents a disaster for the Spanish club.
Whilst Neymar has settled well, Barcelona have been without the talents of Lionel Messi for the most prolonged period of his adult career. He will most likely be back to face Manchester City but it’s hard to imagine him at his haunting best by February – even before his injury he was having a below par season by his standards.
Manchester City can go into the game on top form and with nothing to lose. Most expect Barcelona to win and, even if City do lose, it will be another important step in their European education. We hope that they will play with freedom because we think that, on this kind of form, they will frighten the life out of the Catalans. We saw Barcelona buckle under the pressure of Bayern Munchen in last season’s final. Yes, this is the best club side ever. But it’s certainly not invulnerable anymore.
So, while the draw represents a disaster for Barcelona, Manchester City should view the tie as a great occasion and a great opportunity. Losing won’t be the end of the world. But, if they win, they will surely be team that everyone wants to avoid in the quarter finals. Because this Manchester City side has the talent go all the way.
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