Can Luis Enrique Win Champions League in 1st Season?

_77032345_luis_suarez_barca_gettyBarcelona travel to Manchester City for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League second round tie on Tuesday 24 February, and if you haven’t reserved your seats you, you can make FC Barcelona ticket bookings through our partners at 1st4FootballTickets.

Luis Enrique’s side have hit blistering form in recent weeks whilst the defending Premier League champions have failed to win more times than not in 2015.

This weekend Manchester City host Newcastle United in a must-win game to keep within seven points of league leaders Chelsea with José Mourinho’s side hosting Burnley on the same day.

Barcelona entertain Málaga on Saturday and will want to at least maintain their one point deficit to Real Madrid by taking three points in a game they are heavily expected to win.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez have hit form in recent weeks, with the Catalan side scoring an incredible 42 goals in their last 11 games in all competitions since losing 1-0 to David Moyes’ Real Sociedad to start 2015.

That’s an 11-game winning streak for the four times Champions of Europe who are amongst the favourites to win the trophy again this season.

Only Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are shorter odds than the La Liga giants with the bookmakers’ to win this season’s competition.

Arguably, the current league leaders of the Spanish and German league’s have been given the favourable second round ties with Real Madrid meeting Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich facing Shakhtar Donetsk.

Four favourites Chelsea take on French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain but the big four in this season’s competition are certainly expected to make the quarter-finals at least.

Manchester City have won four of their last 10 games in all competitions. They have been held at home to both Burnley and Hull City in the Premier League and beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at the Etihad too. Manuel Pellegrini’s side were held 1-1 at Everton in the league too, and after that they were dumped out of the FA Cup at home to Championship side Middlesbrough.

Sergio Agüero has not found his form since returning from injury recently and they have been reliant on the Argentine this season. David Silva has previously been great this season but is a bit off form of late for his standards. Without these two, do Manchester City have a chance over two legs against Barcelona?

It’s difficult to pick a winner between the four favourites, but it’s hard to see who is going to keep Barcelona’s front three quiet and eliminate Luis Enrique’s side.

They still have the likes of Xavi and Andrés Iniesta to ping the ball around in midfield, although neither start each game week in, week out. Ivan Rakitić plays an important role in the midfield now.

One weak point in the Barcelona side, like Real Madrid’s, in comparison to Chelsea and Bayern Munich, is the Spanish sides’ defence.

Helped by their dominance of games, Enrique’s side have conceded the fewest goals in La Liga so far this season. However, when they are tested, they are not elite. They shipped three goals at Real Madrid earlier this season.

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