Published on February 18th, 2014 | by Daniel Riordan0
“Dream to a reality” – Daniel Riordan (Guest Writer)
When I started watching City just over 10 years ago, the first match to be played at City’s new ground was a pre season game against Barcelona. I was gutted not to of been able to get a ticket which was a game where I could of seen one of my all time favourite players – Ronaldinho. The stadium was packed and had a great atmosphere from what I look back on and to think that is only a small segment of our history in comparison to what is going to happen tonight.
You would of only dreamt of being able to see the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Valdes and others years ago and it’s still strange to think that this will become a reality in due course. But shouldn’t we be getting out of this mentality by now ? We’ve faced the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Ajax to name a few, big historical clubs. It’ll always have this feeling coming up against Barcelona but don’t we deserve it ? The squad we’ve got and the performances we’ve had, I wonder if the Barca fans are the same in thinking they’re coming up against a big strong team now.
There’s two ways the game can go and that’s either a thrilling intense fast paced tie or a dull let down and after the comments Dani Alves came out with in the week about us having no class, I’m sure there will be a big atmosphere. I’ve watched Barca several times and most recently against Real Sociedad in the Copa Del Rey and they’ve not looked how they have for the past few years. Even with Messi in the side, they came under threat in that game regardless of the aggregate. That game ended 1-1 which could easily have been a few more for Sociedad. Although they won 6-0 against Rayo Valecano at the weekend, we still have to remember how many results we’ve had over 4 goals this year, in particular 6-0 and 5-1 against Spurs.
The way City have to break Barca down is to attack none stop. You look at the German teams in the Champions League last season, both 4-0 in the first legs. Spanish teams and even the Spanish national team have always had this problem of not being able to defend when teams attack against them. In the Confederations cup, Brazil beat them by attacking nonstop. They’re very good at going forward but at the back, they can’t do it.
Having Clichy in at the weekend proved a big difference against bigger teams. Although Kolarov has had a great season, he lacks getting back in defence. Clichy is a fast agile player who gets down the wings and gets back, something we’ll have to be cautious about for when Barca hit on the counter attack.
I can’t call who’s going to be in the starting 11 but I do hope that Demichelis isn’t at the back. As much as Pellegrini has had faith with him, I’d go for Lescott. His partnership with Kompany is so much better and had a brilliant game against Chelsea. He’s experienced and can handle a game like this – something I don’t think Nastasic is ready for just yet. I’ll have faith with whoever is put out though tonight and get behind them all the way.
I still can’t believe I’m seeing this tonight.
– Daniel Riordan (Guest Writer)