Lionel Messi back in form for Barcelona ahead of Manchester City clash. Image courtesy of thesun.co.uk
Fresh from an impressive home win over Chelsea on the weekend which elevated it into the FA Cup quarter-finals, Manchester City turns its attention to champion Spanish club FC Barcelona # QL_SS#1292955;138355#SS#. Goals in each half from Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri wrapped up a 2-0 victory for City and safe passage into the FA Cup quarters. Now it's the first leg of a round of 16 tie against one of the world's most famous clubs, Barcelona.
En route to Etihad Stadium, Barca thrashed Rayo Vallecano 6-0 to remain on top of La Liga on goal difference. The good news for the Spanish club is the return to form of Lionel Messi. The Argentine has now notched braces at his last two outings, while Brazilian forward Neymar made a successful return from an ankle injury scoring a late goal against Rayo Vallecano after a month out. Previously Barca belted FC Sevilla 4-1 , following a shock home loss to Valencia.
With a quick turnaround, the Citizens are sweating on the fitness of striker Edin Dzeko, who was subbed-off with an ankle injury late in the victory over Chelsea. After selecting them on the bench last weekend, City Boss Manuel Pellegrini is likely to call on Joe Hart, Jesus Navas, Aleksandar Kolarov and Alvaro Negredo. Pellegrini is definitely without Matija Nastasic, which means Martin Demichelis will partner City skipper, Vincent Kompany, in central defence. Javier Garcia is primed to play alongside Yaya Toure in the holding midfield role, as Fernandinho is still in grave doubt. Sergio Aguero is rated only an outside chance of returning after three weeks off with a hamstring problem.
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