The wait is almost over. After nearly two months of build-up, FC Barcelona are just hours away from kicking off their hotly anticipated UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash with Manchester City, and excitement is at a fever pitch. From predicted line-ups to tactical analyses and pre-match press conference, this tie is coming to the boil quite nicely, just in time for what we hope will be an electrifying first-leg at the Etihad Arena. It's not often that two of the best clubs in Europe square off after all.
We want to be entertained, we want to be mesmerised by the action that unfolds in front of our eyes tonight; we want to be able to remember this game in years to come as one that defined Gerardo Martino's reign as Barcelona manager. Certainly escaping the Etihad with a win would be a memorable feat; Barça typically struggle on their travels in Europe, while Manuel Pellegrini has turned Eastlands in something of a fortress.
But Manchester City have not faced anything quite like Barcelona. That's not just this season; in their entire history, City have never faced a side this adept with the ball, a team with so many superstars -- not even Bayern Munich are this technically sound. How will Manchester City adapt to playing without the ball? As is true with all top teams, City are particularly poor without the ball, and here they are, entering a match they know they will be lucky to see a 40% share of the action in.
For them, this match is unknown territory -- whereas Barça have that experience, that big game pedigree. Will it show tonight, or will City make history with their first win in the knockout stages of the European Cup?
Predict the score of tonight's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!
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