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Barcelona vs. Manchester City: Catalan Giants' Weaknesses Give Sky Blues Hope

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini looks dejected during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic at the Etihad Stadium on March 9, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2016

Barcelona go into their last-16 second leg against Manchester City as strong favourites to qualify for the last eight having won the first leg 2-0 at the Etihad last month.

But their recent form offers the Sky Blues hope that they may have an opportunity to complete an extraordinary turnaround at the Camp Nou.

Despite losing to Wigan in the FA Cup at the weekend, this may have a galvanising effect as City run out of trophies to win this season, having already bagged the League Cup.

Indeed, as reported by Colin Harvey in the Daily Star, Manuel Pellegrini is still confident in his side's ability to advance to the quarter-finals:

We finished one trophy and we won that. Now we have to continue playing the Champions League and Premier League.

We must react. We still have a possibility.

We will try to do a very good game and we will see what happens against Barcelona.

Winning always gives you confidence but maybe a game like this can bring a reaction from the team. It could be positive.

Barcelona have lost two of their three La Liga games since the first leg in Manchester.

They went down 1-0 to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid at the weekend and also lost 3-1 to Real Sociedad at the end of February.

Israel L. Murillo/Associated Press

At any other time in recent years no one would have even considered the possibility of Barcelona giving up a 2-0 advantage, but they have not been at their imperious best this season.

Eurosport's Tom Adams pulled no punches in analysing Gerardo Martino's side's most recent performance.

Their La Liga hopes are on the decline as Real Madrid power forward. The Catalan side currently sit four points off the pace in third.  

If Manchester City can hit top form on Wednesday, then they may have a chance of making the last eight of Europe's premier competition.

And a couple of returning players may make the difference. 

Talismanic captain Vincent Kompany will likely return to the side having not played against Wigan.

He tweeted an optimistic message following their defeat as he looked forward to Barcelona:

The Belgian's defensive abilities will give City the chance to claim the clean sheet they will no doubt need.

Sergio Aguero should also make his return to Champions League football.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

City's top scorer this season with 26 goals, his presence gives them every chance of getting the goals they need.

While in all likelihood Barcelona will see the tie out, a repeat of their weekend performance may leave them vulnerable to a shock exit from the competition.

An early goal for City and the nerves may jangle in Spain.

There is hope for City and there would be no better way to respond to their FA Cup exit than a huge performance in Europe.

They would have to be considered serious contenders for the competition if they pull off a comeback and with Barcelona at their weakest for some time, it is a possibility.

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