Manchester City booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night after a 0-0 draw with Dynamo Kiev, but progression came at a cost as Vincent Kompany limped off after seven minutes.
With the Etihad Stadium outfit’s domestic form lagging of late, Manuel Pellegrini’s priority this term appears to be European glory before he is replaced by Pep Guardiola this summer.
— Yaya TourÈ (@YayaToure) March 16, 2016
Having won the first leg 3-1 in Ukraine, City were always comfortable but could not break down the visitors to claim victory on the night.
Kompany’s injury is a reoccurrence of longstanding calf problems and it is expected that the Belgium international will now miss the majority of the season’s remainder.
“We will know tomorrow [Wednesday] or the day after tomorrow how serious it is,” Pellegrini said after the game.
“But always with muscle injuries it is minimum a month.”
“It is difficult for me at this moment to say if he is out for the season but having a problem in his calf, we are in the middle of March, then it is middle of April so it is at least three quarters of the rest of the season.”
PELLEGRINI: "Unfortunately for Vincent Kompany, he has a calf problem again in his muscle so we will see how it is tomorrow." #mcfc
— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) March 15, 2016
Kompany’s absence has blighted City’s chances this season and having the captain unavailable is a major blow for the Manchester outfit as the business end of the campaign approaches.
Atletico Madrid also booked a place in the last eight with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over PSV Eindhoven.
Similar to the first leg in Holland, the game ended 0-0 and the eventual victor was decided from 12 yards.
— Atleti English (@atletienglish) March 16, 2016
With seven players from both teams all hitting the back of the net, Luciano Narsingh’s miss allowed Atletico defender Juanfran to put the Spaniards in the next round.
Tonight’s action sees Arsenal face the daunting trip to Camp Nou to face defending champions Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger’s men trail 2-0 from the first leg following a Lionel Messi brace at the Emirates Stadium and will need a minor miracle to avoid elimination.
The Catalan giants have been a nemesis for the Gunners in recent years and are certainly the team to beat due to exemplary form over the last 12 months.
Although his side are underdogs to progress, Wenger has pledged to attack.
“We don’t have to calculate too much – we know we have to attack and score,” the French coach said.
“The players are united to give a strong performance.”
“Our approach was not bad in the first leg but we lost our balance and got caught. It will be a big boost for the rest of the season if we have a great game on Wednesday.”
Arsenal welcome back defender Laurent Koscielny to the heart of their rearguard, with the task of stopping Luis Suarez, Neymar and Messi arguably the toughest in world football.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 16, 2016
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said he expected a hard game but that his side would play in their usual offensive manner.
“We want to be better than Arsenal on Wednesday. If we can, that is perfect and we will continue in the competition,” he said.
“The opponent is dangerous and we need to play very well to get to the next round.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 15, 2016
Wednesday’s other second leg clash will see heavyweights Bayern Munich and Juventus lock horns at the Allianz Arena.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 15, 2016
The Bundesliga side are one of the competition favorites and will be confident of making the last eight given their two away goals from the 2-2 draw in Turin.
Juve gave themselves a fighting chance by coming back from two goals down in Italy, with last year’s defeated finalists improving significantly of late and sitting on top of the Serie A ladder currently.