Manchester City v Barcelona Preview: Things could get Messi for Guardiola

Manchester City snapped their six match winless streak in all competitions with a convincing 4-0 triumph over West Brom at the weekend but now Pep Guardiola must once against ponder a clash with his former employers.

A home win is on offer at 15/8 (2.88) with Ladbrokes. The same firm make Barcelona slight favourites to record back-to-back wins over the Premier League outfit at 29/20 (2.45) while it’s 13/5 (3.60) that things end all square on Tuesday evening. The match odds look about right for this game and while plenty will side with Barca again, there could be a better path to profit for punters.

This kind of clash is what the Champions League is all about, in another season it could well be the latter knockout stages before we see these two sides lock horns but Group C sees the Catalan giants make the trip to England after dispatching City with aplomb two weeks ago at the Camp Nou.

The visitors were actually still well in that game at 1-0, missing a couple of very presentable opportunities to level things up before Claudio Bravo radar went awry and the former Barca keeper was given his marching orders for handling the ball outside the area. From there the hosts never looked back, inflicting a fifth straight defeat on City.

Goals look on the cards here too as neither side will be at their best defensively. The visitors have kept just one clean sheet in their last five games away from the Catalan capital in all competitions. What’s more, without the services of Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu, who was sent off in the previous meeting, they look unlikely to stop City, especially with Aguero returning to the starting line-up.
Guardiola will of course be without Bravo, but their defensive issues go much deeper than the first choice goalkeeper adjusting to life at the Etihad Stadium. Saturday’s victory against the Baggies was their first clean sheet in nine games and with the attacking trident of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar set to start, it could be another goal-filled encounter.

The over 3.5 line has landed in four of Barca’s last five on the road and is priced at 6/5 (2.20) with Ladbrokes but instead the 13/10 (2.30) on Messi finding the back of the net could be the best bet available for Tuesday’s action.

A hat-trick in the first meeting means it’s now six goals in his two Champions League appearances this term. The chance to back the 29-year-old Argentine at odds-against when facing a defence struggling for consistency looks too good to be ignored at this industry best price with Ladbrokes.

With a record of 16 goals in 15 games against English clubs, Messi is a danger from open play, set pieces and penalties so there are plenty of routes that the little magician could make his mark. Those expecting another treble for Messi can get 28/1 (29.0) with the same firm.

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