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Zabaleta in surprise selection for Barcelona meeting


Pablo Zabaleta has been chosen in Manchester City's starting XI for Tuesday's visit from Barcelona, despite manager Pep Guardiola stating he was unavailable at Monday's pre-match media conference.

The Argentinian right-back suffered a gashed foot in the reverse fixture at the Camp Nou on Oct. 19, meaning right-back duties could've been left to defensive midfielder Fernando or teenager Pablo Maffeo. Instead, the 31-year-old returns to face Barca's triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar.

In other City team news, Vincent Kompany is named among the substitutes after some commendable appearances since returning from his latest injury setback, and Willy Caballero assumes goalkeeping duties from the suspended Claudio Bravo.

(Courtesy: @ManCity)

For the visitor, injuries to Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Jeremy Mathieu – who was banned from the test anyway due to receiving two yellow cards a fortnight ago – has led Luis Enrique into selecting a makeshift Barca defence in Sergi Roberto, Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti, and Lucas Digne.

In the five previous meetings between the two sides, Barcelona has won every time. City has seen four players sent off in that quintet of matches.

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