It may be hard to believe for some football fans, but there’s no denying the fact that the balance of power in Manchester has clearly shifted to the blue side of the city. Two Premier League titles in the last three seasons have helped Manchester City establish itself as one of the biggest clubs in world football.
There’s one glaring hole in Manchester City’s resume however that prevents it from really joining the world’s best and that is their repeated failures in the Champions League. It’s astonishing given their success on the domestic stage, but the English club has yet to reach the quarterfinal round of the Champions League in its entire history.
It won’t get any easier for them this year as standing in their way in the round of 16 are four-time European champions F.C. Barcelona. In fact, the soccer betting line found here at Topbet.eu shows FC Barcelona as -270 favourites to prevail over Manchester City and advance to the quarterfinal round. The question now is can the Citizens pull off an upset and create some history of their own.
For Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, the answer is a resounding yes. Speaking to ITV ahead of their Champions League coverage, the former midfielder backed City to stun the Catalan giants in the round of 16. He identified Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero as the key players who need to step up in their upcoming clash against Barcelona.
Aguero has been superb for Manchester City this season, scoring a team-high 21 goals. Aguero netted five of those in the Champions League group stage including a stunning hat-trick in a 3-2 win over German giants Bayern Munich last November that kept their European campaign alive.
Toure, on the other hand, will provide the necessary muscle in City’s midfield. Fresh of a highly-successful stint with Ivory Coast in the recently-concluded African Cup of Nations, the 31-year-old will be instrumental in stopping the world-class Barcelona attack.
Apart from his stellar defense, Toure has proven to be a vital cog for Manchester City on the offensive end as well. He is the team’s second-leading scorer this season, grabbing a total of nine goals for the Citizens this campaign. If Toure and Aguero can bring their A-game in the round of 16, this may not be the one-sided end to City’s Champions League hopes that some expect.