When Pep Guardiola announced back in February that he’d be taking over at Manchester City at the end of the 2015-16 season, Premier League fans simply couldn’t believe their luck. A managerial coup such as the Spaniard only further emphasised that this is by far the best league in the world.
And the City boss got off to an incredible start, with his side flying out of the traps to win 10 games on the bounce in all competitions, before a draw away at Celtic saw that run come to an end.
This week, we’re set to be treated to some of the finest talents in European football as Barcelona, Guardiola’s former employers, travel to England to take on the Citizens in the Champions League. (other way round :P)
Known primarily for his tiki-taka philosophy which saw the Catalan giants win a staggering 14 trophies in four seasons, Ladbrokes News has taken a look at how Pep’s new-look City side compare to the Spanish outfit.
On the whole, it’ll come as no surprise to you to hear that Barcelona and Man City both have a similar record in their opening eight league games.
The only major thing which separates the pair is that Barcelona (26) have found the back of the net on seven more occasions than City (19) so far. Not a huge shock when you have the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at your disposal.
But the two sides mirror each other in terms of chances created, each boasting a huge figure of 105. That’s an average of just over 13 a game. To put that into some context, it’s double the amount of four Premier League sides.
Both clubs also top the possession charts in their respective leagues, and only three per cent separates Barcelona (61 per cent) and City (58 per cent), while no side has a better passing accuracy percentage than City in the Premier League (85 per cent) and Barca in La Liga (87 per cent).
Suffice to say we can expect a close encounter, with very few mistakes.
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Barca’s deadly trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar make up 15 of their teams 26 league goals this season, while City fans can thank Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Nolito for 15 of their 19 league goals.
So will the side who keep their opponent’s front three at bay have one hand on the three points on offer?
Defensively, it’s the Manchester outfit that have been the busier of the two sides in their opening eight fixtures, with 43 defensive actions to Barcelona’s 26.
But while that stat suggests it’s the visitors that have the shakier defence, it’s actually the home side who’ve conceded the most goals, with opponents finding the net on 10 occasions while City have shipped just eight goals.
We’re expecting each net to bulge on a number of occasions in this one, with both sides scoring a combined total of 16 goals in their opening two Champions League games. And with no key players set to miss out, we’re expecting a truly thrilling encounter in the Camp Nou.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing