Latin links spice up City-Barcelona showdown
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Manchester City FC's Spanish connections mean there are unlikely to be too many surprises for FC Barcelona in the first leg of their much-anticipated round of 16 contest.
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Manchester City FC and FC Barcelona's UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg will be their first competitive encounter, but there are unlikely to be too many surprises for either side given the hosts' Spanish connections.
• City's squad features four Spaniards – Javi García, Jesús Navas, Álvaro Negredo and David Silva – along with four more players also signed from Spain's top flight including Yaya Touré, who joined from Barcelona in 2010. Additionally they have in Manuel Pellegrini a coach well acquainted with the Spanish game, and in director of football Txiki Begiristain a man who knows Barcelona better than most.
• Pellegrini's City reached this stage by finishing second in Group A where they took 15 points – two more than Gerardo Martino's Barcelona managed in winning Group H.
• The clubs have met six times in friendly matches:
1952 Barcelona 5-1 Manchester City
1957 Barcelona 3-2 Manchester City
1974 Barcelona 3-2 Manchester City
1986 Barcelona 1-1 Manchester City (3-4 penalties, played in Huelva)
2003 Manchester City 2-1 Barcelona
2009 Barcelona 0-1 Manchester City
• Barcelona visited City on 10 August 2003 for their inaugural match in a stadium built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Nicolas Anelka and Trevor Sinclair scored either side of Javier Saviola's goal for Barcelona, who included Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández in their starting XI with Andrés Iniesta a second-half substitute.
• City won 1-0 at Barcelona in a pre-season friendly in August 2009, Martin Petrov the scorer. Touré was playing for Barcelona while Pablo Zabaleta is City's only survivor.
• The lineups were:
Barcelona: Pinto, Montoya (Alves 46), Puyol (Bartra 30), Fontas (Piqué 65), Maxwell, Sergio, Y Touré (Jonathan 46), Gudjohnsen (Keita 46), Jeffren (Gai 54), Bojan (Ibrahimović 46), Pedro (Messi 46).
Manchester City: Given, Onuoha, Dunne, K Touré (Ben Haim 46), Zabaleta (Garrido 65), Weiss, Wright-Phillips (Tripper 81), Ireland, Barry (Etuhu 69), Petrov, Tévez (Bellamy 65).
• City are in the last 16 for the first time but Pellegrini has guided Villarreal (2006, 2009) and Málaga CF (2012) into the quarter-finals.
• Four-time European champions Barcelona are seeking a seventh successive quarter-final appearance. In last season's round of 16 against AC Milan they lost the first leg 2-0 in Italy but bounced back with a 4-0 triumph at the Camp Nou.
• City lost 3-1 at home to Josep Guardiola's FC Bayern München on matchday two, their only defeat in their last 23 European fixtures in Manchester. They won their two other Group D home fixtures handsomely, putting a combined nine goals past PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Viktoria Plzeň.
• Barcelona won 1-0 at Celtic FC on their first away trip in this season's competition but lost 2-1 at AFC Ajax on their most recent and have posted just one victory in their last six European away games, losing three.
• City's home record against Spanish clubs is W2 D2 L0. Sergio Agüero's penalty earned a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid CF in last term's group stage and the Argentinian scored an added-time winner in a 2-1 success against Villarreal CF in the 2011/12 group stage.
• Barcelona have not won in five away fixtures in England, most recently going down 1-0 at Chelsea FC in the 2011/12 semi-finals. Their last away victory over a Premier League side came at this stage in 2006/07 when they beat Liverpool FC 1-0 yet still suffered defeat on away goals. Víctor Valdés, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi all played at Anfield.
• Barcelona's overall record away to English opposition is W6 D8 L14. This does not include their 3-1 triumph over Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium in the 2011 UEFA Champions League final.
• The Blaugrana have never won in Manchester where four visits to Old Trafford have brought them two draws and two defeats – most recently a 1-0 semi-final loss to United in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League. Touré was in the Barcelona team that day and again when they beat United in the 2009 final in Rome.
• During nine seasons in Spain, Pellegrini coached Villarreal, Real Madrid and Málaga but enjoyed only four victories against Barcelona during that time, most recently a 2-1 success for Villarreal at the Camp Nou in March 2008. He lost both of his Liga encounters with Barcelona as Madrid coach in 2009/10, 1-0 away and 2-0 at home. The Chilean's overall record against Barcelona is P22 W4 D4 L14.
• City's director of football, Begiristain, filled the same role at Barcelona between 2003 and 2010. He was a member of the Blaugrana's 1992 European Cup-winning squad and also helped the club win four Liga titles, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Super Cup during seven years as a Barcelona player.
• During three seasons with Barcelona between 2007 and 2010, Touré made 74 Liga appearances and scored four goals, helping the Blaugrana to two league titles and the 2009 UEFA Champions League crown.
• Pablo Zabaleta spent three years at Barcelona's city rivals RCD Espanyol between 2005 and 2008. He appeared in four Liga derbies against Barcelona, drawing two and losing two.
• Agüero hit five goals in ten Liga outings against Barcelona for Club Atlético de Madrid between 2006 and 2011. His first home match against Barcelona with Atlético ended in a 6-0 defeat in May 2007.
• Gaël Clichy was an unused substitute in the Arsenal side beaten 2-1 by Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. Clichy and Samir Nasri played alongside Cesc Fàbregas and Alex Song in the Arsenal teams beaten by Barcelona in the 2009/10 quarter-finals and 2010/11 round of 16.
• Gerard Piqué spent four years in Manchester as a United player from 2004-08, making 23 appearances but never facing City.
• At Arsenal, Fàbregas won nine and lost just two of 13 meetings with City. His last visit was for a 3-0 away win in October 2010 in which Song scored.
• Navas played alongside Daniel Alves and Adriano in the Sevilla FC team that beat Barcelona 3-0 in the 2006 UEFA Super Cup.