How the Bookies See it
- Winner: Barcelona 8/13, Draw 16/5, Man City 4/1 - Paddy Power
- Half Time/Full Time: Barcelona/Barcelona 29/20, Draw/Barcelona 19/5, Draw/Draw 7/1 - BetVictor
- Correct Score: Barcelona 2-1 15/2, Draw 1-1 8/1, Barcelona 2-0 9/1 - BetVictor
- Barcelona currently sit top of Group C having entered this season’s Champions League in fine form, sweeping aside Celtic 7-0 at the Camp Nou. A trickier trip to Germany followed, as the Catalan side were forced to come from a goal down to claim all three points against a stubborn Borussia Monchengladbach. On home soil, the Spanish giants have been uncharacteristically sloppy, dropping points and leaking goals in a number of their opening La Liga matches, but a 4-0 demolition of Deportivo La Coruna over the weekend could give the boys in blue something to think about.
- Manchester City have been criticised for their Champions League performances over the past few seasons, but made an excellent start to this year’s campaign. A sound thrashing of Steaua Bucharest in qualifying was followed by an impressive 4-0 home win over Group C rivals Borussia Monchengladbach. City dropped their first points under new manager Pep Guardiola as they were forced to come from behind on three occasions in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Celtic. Domestically, the Etihad side made relatively light work of their early opponents, but a defeat to Tottenham before the international break has proved that Pep’s men are far from invincible.
Barcelona’s squad have been plagued by injuries this term, with Lionel Messi being the highest profile absentee. The 29-year-old, who has returned to training after three weeks on the sidelines, could be in contention to at least feature against Manchester City and is amongst the favourites to break the deadlock. The home side will also be able to call upon their other striking options, should the Argentine fail to produce the goods, with South American strike partners Neymar and Luis Suarez looking far from shy in front of goal. The MSN partnership could certainly leave City’s young defenders more than a little flustered and they would no doubt delight in getting one over on ex-teammate and current Citizens’ goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo.
Manchester City have faced stern tests in Europe before, and Wednesday’s game may prove no different. The Premier League’s top team looked far from comfortable against Celtic in their last continental outing, something that could seriously hamper their chances of leaving Spain with a point, let alone three. However, Pep Guardiola will be desperate to prove that he still possesses the magic touch in the Champions League, having failed to win the tournament with previous club Bayern Munich. The former Spain and Catalonia international is 4/1 with Paddy Power to guide City to the win, while a victory in which both teams score is even better value at 7/1 with Ladbrokes. City have also struggled keeping clean sheets this season, so while odds of 1/12 with Bet365 may not seem worthwhile, adding this to a larger accumulator may be worth considering.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Barcelona to win 3-1 - 11/1 with Paddy Power
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.