Manchester City v Barcelona: The air of invincibility may have gone, but despite what Jose Mourinho says, Barcelona are still an incredible side

The Chelsea boss said this is the worst Barcelona team for a 'many, many years'

It’s been a busy week for Jose, taking down Barcelona as well Arsene Wenger. Even if, as Mourinho asserts, Barca come to Manchester in reduced circumstances, what remains is sufficiently potent to blow away most teams.

This tie has cast City as star gazers hosting the great Leo Messi and his cast of champions. They are the new kids experiencing this elevation for the first time. Barcelona wandered into Manchester to the manor born, seeing out a routine engagement as if they were popping into the supermarket to pick up some groceries.

No-one is asking Messi how he will cope with the City threat. The questions are all framed from the opposite perspective. I suspect we are about to discover how shallow are the interpretations of Barcelona in fading light.

Okay, they have not won the Champions League since 2011, but it took a monumental fluke by Chelsea to knock them out at the semi-final stage in 2012 and a freak storm by Bayern Munich to flatten them at the same point last year.

Mourinho throws aside the joint leaders of La Liga as they come off a 5-0 win in which Messi cemented his position as the greatest goal scorer Spain has known; take that Alfredo di Stefano, Johann Cruyff, Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho, Raul, Cristiano et al.

City froze when confronted by Bayern in the group stages at the Etihad. Yes they recovered brilliantly at the Allianz but in a dead rubber as far as Bayern were concerned. They have the tools to trouble any team, but will need to break free of the sense of occasion if they are to build an advantage against Barca, something they failed to do against Chelsea in the league as well as Bayern.

Barca might have surrendered a little of the sense of invincibility they one projected but not their affinity for the ball. They still dominate possession like no other team in the history of the game in important matches, a feature City must disrupt tonight.

As well as Messi, Barca can call upon the likes of Sanchez, Fabregas, Pedro, Tello, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and a bloke called Neymar. They can’t all play at the same time, of course, but they are all available and might just represent the best ‘worst’ team in the history of sport.

Read more: There is just 'one club in Manchester' - Pellegrini
Barcelona blueprint faces key test
Navas on beating Barcelona
Fabregas thriving under Martino
Barcelona are still incredible, despite what Mourinho says
Pique out to prove doubters wrong
Manchester City v Barcelona match preview
Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks