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Six talking points ahead of Manchester City's Champions League clash with Barcelona

SoccerBy Sunday World
Six talking points ahead of Manchester City's Champions League clash with Barcelona

Manchester City face Barcelona at the Nou Camp in their first Champions League Group C meeting tonight.

Here are the main talking points ahead of the highly-anticipated clash.

Pep's return

Inevitably, the main focus of attention will be on City boss Pep Guardiola, who remains a hugely popular figure at the Nou Camp after his long playing service and glittering spell as manager. Guardiola won 14 trophies in his four years in charge of Barca, including two Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles.

Other City connections

While a lot of the build-up will centre around Guardiola's return, he is not the only City figure facing a reunion with his former club. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo swapped Barca for City less than two months ago while forward Nolito began his career there and was courted by them again this summer before opting for City. Off the field, director of football Txiki Begiristain held an equivalent role at Barca and was also a player there, while chief executive Ferran Soriano also had a senior position. Most of Guardiola's backroom team also worked with him at the Nou Camp.

Playing styles

Guardiola was famed for his tiki-taka style of play while in charge at Barca and already there are signs of a new incarnation of it being introduced at City. With Barca still playing exhilarating football under Luis Enrique, the meeting is a mouth-watering clash of two wonderfully slick sides.

Attackers on show

Away from the dugout, the attacking players will command the attention on the field. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and David Silva trying to outdo Barcelona's formidable attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez is an enticing prospect.

Yardstick for City

The way City began their season with 10 successive wins raised the question of just how good they could become under Guardiola. Progress has been checked slightly by a run of three successive games without a win but Barca will provide a true measure of just where they stand. Barca are everything City aspire to be and it will be interesting to see how far they have come or still have to go.

Points needed

City want to build on last season's run to the semi-finals and further establish themselves at the top of the European game. But after dropping points at Celtic in their last outing, two bad results in back-to-back games against Barcelona could throw their hopes of reaching in the knockout stage into jeopardy. In the context of Group C, City could do with picking up points.

Press Association