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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Pep Guardiola: Lionel Messi makes Barcelona favourites for UCL

Following a series of dangerous tackles on Man City players, the FC panel discuss the possibility that they're being targeted by the opposition.
Raheem Sterling's lone goal of the match was enough for Man City to down Newcastle and pick up an 18th straight Premier League win.

Pep Guardiola has said Barcelona are favourites to win the Champions League ahead of Manchester City because of Lionel Messi.

City, who are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning 18 consecutive games are set to face Basel in the Champions League round of 16.

They are viewed as a contender to win the Champions League for a first time, but Guardiola insists Messi's availability for Barca makes them the team to watch.

Speaking after the 1-0 win against Newcastle on Wednesday, City boss Guardiola was asked if City were favourites for the Champions League, to which he answered: "Who does [Lionel] Messi play for?" 

When a reporter said "Barcelona," Guardiola replied: "So they're the favourites." 

Barcelona are nine points clear at the top of La Liga and have gone into the winter break unbeaten in their first 17 games.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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