FC Barcelona are set to host Women’s Super League side Manchester City in the first leg of the quarter-finals in the Champions League.
The first leg will be played in a neutral venue due to coronavirus restrictions. The tie will take place at the U-Power Stadium in Monza, Italy.
Barcelona currently sit top of the table in the Primeria División, having won all 20 of their games played so far. They have scored an impressive 99 goals and only conceded a total of three this season in the league.
Lluís Cortés’ team have comfortably progressed through to the quarter-finals. Throughout both previous rounds they have only conceded twice as well as keeping two clean sheets.
Manchester City are currently on a streak of 10 wins in a row in the Women’s Super League. They sit in a promising second place behind leaders Chelsea.
Gareth Taylor’s side have scored 39 goals in all competitions since the turn of the year, keeping eight clean sheets.
Man City will be looking to make it through to the semi-finals for the third time in their history. They previously managed this in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons in which they were knocked out by Lyon.
Road to the quarter-finals
In the Round of 32, they saw off Dutch side PSV Vrouwen with an aggregate score of 8-2. Lieke Martens scored three times throughout that run.
Then they eased their way past Fortuna Hjørring in the last 16. They put a total of nine goals past them across both legs. Spanish international Jennifer Hermoso scored a hat-rick in the first meeting.
The Sky Blues met Swedish champions Goteborg in the Round of 32, in which they succeeded with an aggregate score of 5-1. England international Georgia Stanway scored three goals across both legs.
In the next round, they faced off against Italian opponents in the form of Fiorentina. The tie was definitely in Man City’s favour after two goals were scored inside the first 10 minutes at the Academy Stadium. Over in Florence, American international Sam Mewis scored a brace to help win the round with an aggregate score of (8-0).
FC Barcelona: WWWWW
Goals Scored and Conceded – (21) and (0)
Manchester City: WWWWW
Goals Scored and Conceded – (13) and (1)
Ones To Watch
Barcelona: Caroline Graham Hansen
Norwegian international Hansen has started all four matches in this season’s Champions League. She has recorded the most assists with the Barcelona squad with four and has scored twice in that competition.
In the Primera Division, the midfielder has played 17 games and scored eight goals, providing an incredible 13 assists. She also has a successful penalty conversion rate of 100% scoring 10 out of 10 in her previous spot-kicks.
Manchester City: Ellen White
England international White has played in all 17 games in the Women’s Super League including 15 starts. She has scored nine goals and has provided four assists this campaign.
Ellen has played 1,219 minutes so far this season. Only four more players have had more playing time under Gareth Taylor. The striker has three goals in this year’s Champions League, putting her level with teammate Stanway.
Although Hansen (Midfielder) and White (Forward) play different positions they have a few statistics in common.
They both have a combined number of matches played this season with 21. They share a common starting line-up average appearances per match percentage with 0.86%. Their average percentage of being substituted in a match is also equal with 0.14.
However there are many differences between the two players, including the different attacking and defensive methods. Hansen (2.8) has a higher percentage of shots per match than White (2.4) but the Manchester City striker records a better shots on target per match with 1.52%
Defensively, the Barcelona midfielder has the upper hand having a higher percentage in eight different categories over the English striker. This includes ball recoveries, dribbles, tackles, challenges and ball interceptions per match. However, White out-performs Hansen airily with a higher number of arial duels won and a positive percentage of 38%. This could be crucial in attacking set-pieces for City.
Cortés explained: “City is one of the teams that play more like us, with possession and dominating the weight of the game.”
“It will be key to have possession and dominate the game, but also know how to defend when we don’t have it, it will be more than usual.”
He added: “We have to be brave, but also be smart in thinking it’s 180 minutes.” He stressed: “We can compete against anyone.”
Gareth Taylor has confirmed his side will be without Steph Houghton who is unavailable due to injury. Aside from the captain, he has no new injury concerns, with Lucy Bronze also back in contention to play.
Looking ahead to the game he commented: “I think it will be interesting. We don’t know until the game kicks off. That’s what makes it a fascinating game to look forward to.
“We need to take our chances, we need to defend resolutely.”
Where To Watch
Wednesday 24th March at the U-Power Stadium.
You can watch Barcelona v Manchester City in the UEFA Women’s Champions League live on BT Sport and CITY+ for subscribers. Spanish viewers can catch the game live on FCBtv or Esport3.
The game will kick-off at 11.30am UK time and 12.30pm local time.