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Barcelona await visit of City and Guardiola

Josep Guardiola returns to the club with whom he lifted the European Cup as both player and coach when his Manchester City side visit Barcelona on matchday three.

City have never beaten Barcelona but Pep Guardiola knows better than anybody about winning at the Camp Nou
City have never beaten Barcelona but Pep Guardiola knows better than anybody about winning at the Camp Nou ©AFP/Getty Images

Josep Guardiola returns to the club where he made his name when Manchester City FC visit FC Barcelona on matchday three.

• This meeting of the top two in Group C will take several other Barcelona old boys back to their former club – director of football Txiki Begiristain, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, winger Nolito, and assistant coach Mikel Arteta.

Previous meetings
• The clubs met for the first time in a competitive fixture in the 2013/14 round of 16. Barcelona won 2-0 in England with Lionel Messi (pen) and Dani Alves scoring, and that pair struck again in a 2-1 victory back at the Camp Nou, either side of Vincent Kompany's goal. In both games City had a man sent off – Martín Demichelis, then Pablo Zabaleta.

• The line-ups in Barcelona on 12 March 2014 were:
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Fàbregas (Sergi Roberto 86), Neymar (Alexis Sánchez 80), Messi, Iniesta.
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Y Touré, Fernandinho, Nasri (Navas 75), Silva (Negredo 72), Milner, Agüero (Džeko 46).

• Barcelona prevailed again at the same stage in 2014/15. In Manchester, Luis Suárez scored twice in a 2-1 win in which Sergio Agüero also found the net, Gaël Clichy was sent off, and Messi had a last-minute penalty saved by Joe Hart. Back in Barcelona, Ivan Rakitić got the only goal and Marc-André ter Stegen saved an Agüero spot kick.

• The line-ups at the Camp Nou on 18 March 2015 were:
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alves (Adriano 90+1), Piqué, Mathieu, Alba, Rakitić (Rafinha 84), Mascherano, Iniesta, Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Man. City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Nasri (Navas 46), Y Touré (Bony 72), Fernandinho, Milner (Lampard 87), Silva, Agüero.

• Zabaleta is City's only survivor from the 1-0 friendly win at Barcelona in August 2009.

Match background

Barcelona
• Barcelona are seeking a third Group C victory after beating Celtic FC 7-0 and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1.

• The Celtic result made it 12 home UEFA Champions League wins in a row. Overall Barcelona are unbeaten in 17 matches at home in the competition since September 2013 (W16, D1).

• Barcelona's last encounter with Premier League opposition came against Arsenal FC in last season's round of 16: 2-0 (a), 3-1 (h).

• Their overall home record against English clubs is W18 D11 L2.

Manchester City
• City followed up an opening 4-0 win over Mönchengladbach by drawing 3-3 at Celtic on matchday two.

• The Premier League club had mixed fortunes in Spain last season. They won 3-1 at Sevilla FC in the group stage – with Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho among the scorers – but lost 1-0 at Real Madrid CF in the semi-finals.

• City's overall away record against Spanish sides is W2 D1 L6.

Club and player links
• This is Guardiola's second return to the Camp Nou as a coach, following a 3-0 defeat with FC Bayern Munchen in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

• Between 2008 and 2012, Guardiola amassed 14 trophies as Barcelona coach, including the UEFA Champions League in 2009 and 2011 and three successive Liga titles (2009–11).

• As a Barça player, Guardiola landed six league titles as well as the club's first European Cup in 1992. He made 263 appearances between 1991 and 2000, also featuring in their 1997 European Cup Winners' Cup final success – alongside Luis Enrique – and the 1992 UEFA Super Cup victory.

• City's director of football, Begiristain, filled the same role at Barcelona between 2003 and 2010. He was previously a member of the Blaugrana's 1992 European Cup-winning squad and also won four Liga titles, the Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

• Luis Enrique scored on three separate UEFA Champions League trips to England as a Barcelona player – in a 3-2 defeat at Newcastle United FC (1997/98 group stage); a 3-3 draw at Manchester United FC (1998/99 first group stage); and a 4-2 win at Arsenal FC (1999/2000 first group stage).

• Bravo made 75 appearances for Barcelona between 2014 and 2016, but did not appear in any of their UEFA Champions League matches.

• Bravo was captain of the Chile side that beat Messi and Javier Mascherano's Argentina 4-2 on penalties in the 2016 Copa América final. Messi hit his penalty over the crossbar.

• At Barcelona (2008–11), Nolito played under Luis Enrique for Barcelona B. He made five league and cup appearances for the senior side, scoring in a 5-1 Copa del Rey victory over AD Ceuta.

• Nolito provided the assist for the only goal when RC Celta de Vigo recorded their first-ever win at Barcelona in November 2014. In September 2015 he scored in Celta's 4-1 home Liga win over the Catalan club.

• City assistant coach Mikel Arteta began his career in Barcelona's youth academy before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain aged 18.

• As a teenager at City, Denis Suárez made two first-team appearances in English League Cup ties (v Wolverhampton Wanders FC in October 2011, v Aston Villa FC in September 2012).

• Ivan Rakitić was in the FC Schalke 04 side beaten 2-0 at home by a City team including Kompany in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.

• Gerard Piqué spent four years in Manchester as a United player from 2004–08, making 23 appearances but never facing City.

• Agüero hit five goals in ten Liga outings against Barcelona for Club Atlético de Madrid.

• Zabaleta won none of his four derbies against Barcelona as a player at RCD Espanyol  (D2 L2).

• Gaël Clichy was an unused substitute for Arsenal in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final defeat by Barcelona. 

• Jesús Navas was in the Sevilla FC side that beat Barcelona 3-0 in the 2006 UEFA Super Cup.

• Played together in club football:
Luis Suárez & Raheem Sterling (Liverpool FC)
Ivan Rakitić & Jesús Navas (Sevilla FC)

Match facts

Barcelona
• Luis Suárez provided two assists in Uruguay's 3-0 win over Venezuela and scored in the 2-2 draw with Colombia to join Hernán Crespo on 18 goals as the joint all-time top scorer in CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

• Neymar scored the opening goal and provided two assists in Brazil's 5-0 defeat of Bolivia.

• Lionel Messi returned to full training on Thursday after injuring his groin in the 1-1 draw with Atlético Madrid on 21 September. He came off the bench – and scored – in Saturday's 4-0 defeat of RC Deportivo La Coruña.

• Samuel Umtiti is back in training after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in training on 20 September. He was an unused substitute against Deportivo.

• Rakitić (heel), Sergi Roberto (adductor), Jordi Alba (hamstring) and Jasper Cillessen (ankle) have been struggling with injuries. Rakitić played against Deportivo.

• Barcelona's 13 points after their first seven games represented their worst start to a Liga campaign since 2005/06 – when they went on to win a Liga and UEFA Champions League double.

• Gerard Piqué has scored three goals in Barça's last three games.

Manchester City
• Guardiola's ten-match winning run to the start of his reign as City manager was ended by the draw at Celtic on matchday two.

• City were then beaten 2-0 at Tottenham Hotspur FC on 2 October – their first defeat in any competition since the second leg of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, 1-0 against Real Madrid CF.

• Guardiola's men drew 1-1 at home to Everton FC on Saturday, De Bruyne and Agüero both missing penalties. City have failed to convert half their eight spot kicks this season.

• Ilkay Gündoğan scored on his Premier League debut as City triumphed 4-0 against AFC Bournemouth on 17 September.

• Making his first appearance for club or country since 4 May, Kompany sustained a groin injury late on in the cup tie against Swansea City AFC on 21 September. He came on as a substitute against Everton.

• Agüero also missed a penalty as Argentina lost 1-0 in Paraguay on 12 October; substitute Nolito scored within five minutes of coming on as Spain beat Albania 2-0 while Kelechi Iheanacho got the winner in Nigeria's 2-1 victory away to Zambia.

• Bacary Sagna picked up a hamstring injury while in training with France on 10 October and is expected to be out for three weeks.

• Sterling (calf) and Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring) have both had injury problems but started against Everton.