When juggernauts collide: Fans’ predictions as Manchester City and Barcelona face off

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object the results are gargantuan, and that is what football fans are expecting when Manchester City face FC Barcelona.

Tonight’s mouth-watering clash is the first ever competitive match between the two sides, and the first time the two teams have faced off since a friendly fixture in 2009.

The Blues were victorious last time out, with a Martin Petrov goal enough to seal a 1-0 win at the Nou Camp.

It won’t be such a friendly match this time around, as Manuel Pellegrini’s men will go head-to-head with the Catalan giants at the Etihad Stadium in the first-leg of the Champions League last 16.

Barcelona are seen by many as a fading force, after being dismantled in last season’s Champions League tie by eventual winners, Bayern Munich.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho certainly agrees, calling Barca, “the worst Barcelona of many, many years.”

Barcelona still sit top of La Liga however, albeit on goal difference, and still possess the four-time world player of the year, Lionel Messi, so Barca’s threat should not be taken lightly.

MM took to the streets of Piccadilly to ask local football fans for their thoughts ahead of the Champions League clash.

Giovanni Bago, 24, from Gibraltar said: “I support City and Barcelona and think both matches are going to be a great game. Aguero is a big miss for City but I think they can win tonight and get a result at the Nou Camp.”

“I’ve been to games at the Nou Camp and the atmosphere is different to in England. There is singing, but it is immense. It is like a theatre and there’s 90,000 people there.

“I think the atmosphere at the Etihad tonight is going to be immense.”

Joe Thompson, a 49-year-old Manchester United supporter from Belle Vue tipped his local rivals to see off the Catalan giants.

“City are going to get at least a couple of goals. I think it will be 3-1 City.

“But they might approach the game to try and stop Barcelona scoring. Then, it may be more cagey and a low scoring affair. I am United fan so I hope Barca go through either way”, he continued.

Josh Sale, 24, is hoping Barcelona dish out a heavy beating, though he doesn’t think that particular prospect is quite so realistic.

“I hope they lose the game 5-0 because I’m a United fan, but I actually think they’ll will do quite well,” Josh told MM.

“Barcelona are vulnerable defensively, so I think the likes of Silva and Navas can cause them problems. If they can keep Messi and Neymar quiet, I think they can win and go through.”

With Manchester City and Barcelona scoring more goals than any teams in Europe, many fans are predicting a goal-fest.

“There’s a good chance that City will win. I think there will be a few goals and that Negredo will score, but Barcelona are also a very good team and it will be a difficult match,” said Nooraullah Nazari, 22, from Cheetwood.

Some fans believe the form of world-star Lionel Messi will be a key factor in the tie.

“I believe we can beat them if Messi has an off-day. I’m going for 3-2 City with Negredo, Silva and Navas to score.

“We beat them in the Nou Camp 1-0 a while ago when Martin Petrov scored. People say it was only a friendly, but how come their stadium was full?” said John Bryan, 66, from Hulme.

“I’ve been watching City for 50 years. I’ve seen the good times and the bad and it is brilliant at the moment.”

Claire Corbishley, 39, from Davyhulme said: “I think we’ve got every chance, but don’t I ever predict the score line.”

When asked who she thought would be City’s key player, she responded: “Fernandinho, he’s ace, but, I think Yaya Toure will have a great game. He’s just immense for us.

“It’s unbelievable what has happened at City. 15 years ago we were going to Macclesfield in Division Two and look at us now! I never thought I’d see the day where City would take on Barcelona in Europe.”

“City will win 3-0 tonight, plus Edin Dzeko will score a hat-trick; I’m that confident I’ve put a put a bet on it!” said Colin Downes, 56, from Congleton who was selling match merchandise in Piccadilly Gardens.

“Barcelona are definitely worried about City. They know that we’ve got the forward players to hurt them, but I’m not sure if we can beat them out in Spain. It will be a different game over there.

“It will be absolutely rocking in the stadium tonight. United say they’ve got the ‘Theatre Of Dreams’, well, we’ve got the ‘Etihad Of Dreams’.

However, fans who do not support Manuel Pelligrini’s side were more sceptical about the City’s chances.

“They’ll get beat 2-0 tonight. Messi and Iniesta will score and they will probably lose 3-0 at the Nou Camp,” said Dan Watson, an Arsenal fan from Preston.

Pedro Vazquez, a 52, has made the journey from Catalonia to watch the game, and is under no illusions as to how big a task his beloved Barcelona face.

He said: “I think City may win tonight but Neymar will score a hat-trick in the second leg and Barca will go through.” 

Image courtesy of Graham Hogg, via WikiCommons, with thanks.

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