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Pellegrini has less chance of keeping his job than Jeremy Clarkson

17 Mar | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Pellegrini has less chance of keeping his job than Jeremy Clarkson

Out of both domestic cups and slipping back in the title race, surely Barcelona will knock the struggling Citizens out of Europe too

The clock shows 93 minutes have been played. This will be the last kick of the game. Lionel Messi looks up at the towering green-clad figure in goal before him. He looks back down at the ball, then takes three steps and blasts the ball to his right.

But the green man reads it perfectly. He flings himself to his left and beats the ball away, right back into the path of Messi.

The Argentine dives at the ball and flicks it to his left with his head. But for once the ball will not obey his command and he and Joe Hart watch it bounce wide of the post.

That moment was a rare positive for a Manchester City side which had been sliced open like a limp fish in the first half by a Barcelona team that looked to have finally unlocked the talent of Luis Suarez, who bagged two goals before half an hour had been played.

Yes, Sergio Aguero pulled one back mid-way through the second half, but as Messi stepped up to take that kick, City’s Champions League hopes looked to be dashed.

That Hart saved the penalty can give Manuel Pellegrini a smidgen of hope. Something to build on. And right now, you suspect the embattled Chilean will take anything he can get.

After delivering the Premier League title and the Capital One Cup in his first term at the Etihad, the difficult second season has proved to be just that. City’s League Cup defence fell apart with a 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle, before Middlesbrough dumped them out of the FA Cup, also with a shock 2-0 home defeat.

Their latest loss at Burnley on Saturday leaves them six points off league leaders Chelsea, who also have a game in hand. The chances of them defending their Premier League title currently look about as shaky as their back line has been over the last four games.

If Pellegrini is hoping for salvation in the Champions League – and let’s be honest, that is the trophy City’s mega-rich owners really want to see at the Etihad – the omens are not good, and neither is their form.

In their last 11 matches, City have just three wins. Five defeats.

By contrast, Barca have had just five defeats in their entire season and have won 16 of their last 17 games.

And on Wednesday night City’s leaky defence will have to keep out a front line consisting Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. Vincent Kompany and Co must already be having nightmares.

Only a brave soul would bet against a Euro exit for City at the Nou Camp. And if they are sent packing by Barca, Pellegrini will have less chance of keeping his job than Jeremy Clarkson.