Barcelona could be set for a new Manchester test

MANCHESTER CITY could be handed an instant opportunity to succeed where their local rivals United failed by lowering Barcelona’s colours in next season’s Champions League with Roberto Mancini’s side likely to have a 20 per cent chance of facing the Spaniards in the group stages.

The line-up for Europe’s premier competition was finalised over the weekend, along with the overall co-efficients from each competing club. Final confirmation is still to be made by Uefa but it looks certain that City will be in Pot Three for the draw, even if all the clubs above them in the seedings who must face qualifying ties do not make it to the group stage. With Manchester United and Chelsea confirmed as top sides and Arsenal bound to join them if they make it through their final qualifier, City will have just five potential opponents from Pot One.

That list will be headed by Barcelona, whose brilliant display in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of United at Wembley has led many to hail Pep Guardiola’s men as the best club side of all time.

Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid will also be in Pot One, along with the 2010 European champions, Inter Milan, the Europa League winners Porto and, if they make it through the qualifiers, Bayern Munich.