Pep Guardiola returns home once more on Wednesday evening, with Manchester City's Catalan manager taking his new squad to the Camp Nou for arguably the most eye-catching fixture in the entire group stage of this season's Champions League.
Guardiola's tenure in the north of England began in the best possible fashion, yet following 10 successive wins, City have drawn two and lost one of their last three matches, meaning this fixture comes at a particularly interesting time for the Premier League side and indeed their manager.
Barcelona have already dropped points in three of their opening eight matches in La Liga, losing against Alaves and Celta Vigo, while drawing with Atletico Madrid meaning the Blaugrana sit fourth in the domestic table. Form though, will count for little in this most intriguing of clashes, and both sides will feel they can claim three points on matchday three of the Champions League.
Paddy Power make Barcelona the odds-on favourites at 8/15 (1.53) at the Catalans have not lost a home group stage match since Rubin Kazan's shock win at the Camp Nou in October 2009. Indeed, the only side to win a European game away to Barca since then have been Bayern Munich in April 2013, while the Blaugrana's home record pretty imperious.
This of course is not the first time that Guardiola will have returned to the Camp Nou with an opposing team, and the manager will be hoping that things go better than they did in April of last year when his Bayern Munich side left Catalonia having suffered a 3-0 defeat. During his time in Bavaria, Guardiola was knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and he will be hoping his luck on Spanish soil changes on Wednesday evening with City offered at 5/1 (6.00).
While Barca are understandably favourites, the value seems to lie in backing the visitors in some way, and in a game which is expected to see goals, backing City to score two or more at 9/5 (2.80) looks highly appealing.
In Barcelona's four home league matches this seaon, they have kept only one clean sheet, with Real Betis and Alaves both managing to score twice at the Camp Nou.
City meanwhile have scored twice or more, in ten of their 13 competitive games so far this season and while none of the opposition has been quite of the standard of the Spanish champions, there is no doubting the Blues' firepower. With over 2.5 goals in the game offered at 2/5 (1.40) and both teams to score priced at 1/2 (1.50), our selection of City to score two or more looks like an intelligent way to get some value from backing a high scoring match.
|Manchester City to score over 1.5 goals at 9/5 (2.80) for a 1pt stake with Paddy Power|