Manchester City are looking for Champions League revenge against one of football’s true heavyweights on Tuesday night, after having defeated Newcastle United 5-0 on Saturday. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar land in Manchester later today, with the desire to recover from their home defeat against Malaga. It is known that success breeds confidence, and can generate trepidation in opponents, and a year on from suffering a 4-1 aggregate defeat against Barcelona at the same last 16 stage of the competition, belief is growing within the City camp. “The next game is a massive one now and it’s one of those whereby, if you have a good day, it can be a special night,” Vincent Kompany, the City captain, said. “I think everyone is ready for it. “Barcelona are a special team with special players, but I think their ability is not about hurting you all game, you can have tougher games when you go to Stoke City. It’s about the fact they can decide a game within a second because they have more players than anyone else in the world who can finish games with a touch of magic. But I’ve come into football to play those games. From the moment I’m feeling reluctant to play in these games I’m not in the right place. This is what I want.”
Kompany’s comparison to Stoke, as clumsy as it may appear, hints at the challenge facing City against Barcelona which they did not encounter against Newcastle. While Stoke might inflict physical bruises on City during 90 minutes, Barcelona’s style of play is more likely to generate psychological trauma, with a sense of fear derived from the ability of Messi and co to pounce at any moment. For Kompany, however, fear is not the word to describe the prospect of facing Barcelona’s South American front three. “We don’t fear them,” he said. “You don’t go in at this level fearing strikers, we want to play them. It’s the third time in a year now. You play top teams every season and it’s unpredictable. You hope that on your day you can beat them, but I think it’s the same for us as it is for them. It’s all about the day.”
Barcelona went into their La Liga game on Saturday on the back of an 11-game winning streak in all competitions and scoring 42 goals, but were left frustrated by a hard-working Málaga side, who before the match had 21 points fewer than the Catalans. The usually red-hot trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were starved of clear opportunities, while the visitors also found several holes in the defence. Before this game City might have been dreading the Blaugrana’s visit, but now they can feel optimistic. The best Football Tipster believes that Luis Suarez is far from the goal machine he was at Liverpool and Barcelona’s midfield is not what it was. Furthermore Lionel Messi can be tamed with the right tactics and an unhappy Alves has become Barca’s real weak point, so City really does have a great chance tomorrow night.