Pique v Aguero, Busquets v Toure, Messi v Kompany and more.
Manchester City go into the second leg of their Champions League tie against Barcelona chasing the game following a 2-0 defeat at the Etihad in the first match.
It’s a daunting task at the best of times to go to the Nou Camp and come away with a 1-0 win so City will have to be at their very best, hoping for some poor football from the Spanish champions.
It will be a match filled with individual battles breaking out all over the pitch. Here are five of the main ones to keep an eye on.
Gerard Pique v Sergio Aguero
Aguero has to start this game if City are going to get back into the tie quickly.
He has the pace, agility and movement to be a real problem for Barcelona and it’ll be interesting to see whether he starts right at the very top of the attack or just off another striker.
Pique’s job is to give himself enough time and room to be able to deal with that pace and movement.
Sergio Busquets v Yaya Toure
Toure will be the Manchester City midfielder the side will look to, to drive at Barca with that pace and power he’s got in spades.
Toure’s at his best when he’s let off the leash and the fact City are chasing this game means he can afford to play with a little more freedom than would otherwise be the case.
Busquets is generally the deepest of Barca’s midfielders which means he’ll be the player tasked with marking Toure.
Cesc Fabregas v Fernandinho
Fabregas is one of the best players in the world when it comes to moving around the midfield to make himself available for passes.
If Fernandinho doesn’t stay switched on and effectively lets the former Arsenal man do as he pleases, Fabregas has more than enough quality to get on the ball and score himself as well as creating chances for others.
Neymar v Pablo Zabaleta
If Neymar starts this game then he’ll start over on the left hand side which is the area of City’s defence that Zabaleta defends.
Neymar’s ability to get on the ball, perform tricks and control possession doesn’t need to be sold so there’s a lot of discipline required from one of City’s most experienced defenders.
Lionel Messi v Vincent Kompany
Messi can take this tie even further away from City in no time.
He’s a phenomenal attacking player who never stops moving and can hurt City in a second.
Kompany needs to focus, always be looking for Messi’s runs and resist the temptation to leave his position which could leave a gaping great hole for one of Barcelona’s attacking stars to run into.
image: © tchacky