Manchester City's reward for qualifying from the group stage is a tie with the side who thrashed them 4-1 last season, Barcelona. The citizens will again be bemoaning their luck as another second placed finish has granted them a very difficult draw. They should however, see this an opportunity to make amends for last season's crushing defeat and more importantly, make their first waves in the Champions League.
City have never beaten one of Europe's top dogs since their first Champions League campaign in 2011 (it should be noted that Bayern Munich always beat City when it mattered. City only won the dead rubber matches). If City are to win the Champions League they will have to defeat one of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea or Real Madrid along the way. In a sense it is better to prove themselves early than to have deluded themselves by beating Monaco or Porto - the two 'weaker' sides City could have faced - and learn absolutely nothing.
On paper Barcelona are the better side, but they have already shown their fragility on numerous occasions this season. Defensively they will concede against a side that is ambitious and composed on the ball. Offensively they have suffered at times from a lack of fluidity as they struggle to make the transition from tiki-taka to a more direct game. This has resulted in a few 0-0 draws in La Liga.
City qualified for the last 16 of the Champions league after being in an impossible position to do so. Sergio Aguero's one man show against Bayern and the Samir Nasri inspired victory against Roma is evidence City can be resilient. Another performance like that and can cause real damage to a team that doesn't react well to pressure.