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Pep Guardiola heads home for ultimate test of early Manchester City progress | Paul Wilson

Facing his first wobble in England, the City manager arrives back in Barcelona denying he has been caught out by the intensity of the Premier League

After three games without a win Manchester City find themselves in the awkward position of trying to end a disappointing sequence in Barcelona. Ever since the draw was made Pep Guardiola’s homecoming has been the standout attraction of the Champions League group stage but City supporters must be wondering which of his sides is going to turn up. The one that opened the season with 10 straight wins or the one more recently held by Celtic and Everton, with a comprehensive beating at Tottenham in between.

The great thing about Barcelona, as Guardiola not only knows better than most but can take part of the credit for helping bring about, is that the same team more or less always turns up. You know what you are going to get with Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar. “Barcelona is amazing in the way they play,” Guardiola said, “but I love the way they play. They dominate the football and the three players in front are like a machine.”

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