Pep Guardiola Manchester City
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will want to get his team selection right for the Barcelona gameReuters

Right-back is the issue that Pep Guardiola will worry about as Manchester City host Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League. Guardiola will be desperate to get his defence right for this match after the thumping his team took in their last game against Barca, and the fullback position is where there is a problem.

Both Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta are ruled out for this Group C match against Barca, leaving Guardiola with little options.

The Spaniard can go with three central defenders at the back or play either a youngster or an experienced midfielder out of position. Guardiola is unlikely to go with a three-man defence, which means the manager has to choose between the defensive midfielder Fernando and 19-year-old Pablo Maffeo.

"We have to think we've not got right-backs," Guardiola said. "We have one who recently played there and one who is 19."

Maffeo played in the EFL Cup loss to Manchester United a week ago, while Fernando was used in that position by Guardiola in the 4-0 Premier League victory over West Brom. Considering the magnitude of the fixture, it is always safer to go with the experienced man, so Fernando looks like playing at right-back.

Apart from Zabaleta and Sagna, Manchester City will also be without Claudio Bravo, who is suspended after his red card in the reverse fixture against Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, and Fabian Delph. Willy Caballero will be the man who will replace Bravo in goal.

While City ponder over their defensive issues, Barcelona also have a few to deal with, considering the first-choice left-back Jordi Alba and centre-back Gerard Pique are injured. Jeremy Mathieu, who might have deputised for Pique, is suspended.

Barca will also be without the midfield maestro Andres Iniesta, who will miss the Champions League match with a knee injury.

However, they do have their three superstar forwards – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – fit, so Manchester City will need to be at their defensive best to avoid another hammering.

Expected starting XI: Manchester City: Caballero; Fernando, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Gundogan; De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling; Aguero.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitic, Busquets, Rafinha; Messi, Suarez, Neymar.

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