Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 21/20
Two sides looking to pick up an early advantage on Tuesday night, Manchester City will welcome Atletico Madrid to the Etihad for their Champions League quarter-final first-leg.
Starting with the hosts, managing to mark their return from March’s international break with a deserved victory at Turf Moor, there is no doubt that Manchester City will be desperate to keep up that momentum here. Eventually claiming a routine 2-0 win away at relegation scrappers Burnley, Head Coach Pep Guardiola should still find the mood in his camp at a high. Finding a route back to the top of the Premier League table and holding just a one-point buffer over Liverpool, the former Bayern Munich boss has a silverware sweep at the top of his agenda this season. Booking their spot in the quarter-finals of this year’s Champions League after a 5-0 aggregate romp against Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon, Tuesday’s hosts have continued on quite the purple patch this season. In fact, aside from an action-packed 3-2 loss against Tottenham back on February 19th, that is the only defeat that Manchester City have suffered from any of their previous 21 straight outings across all formats.
Manchester City have confirmed that key defender Ruben Dias will be out for at least another couple of weeks with an injury issue.
Likewise, England international Kyle Walker will also be unavailable as he completes a three-match suspension that was picked up last year.
As for the visitors, while Atletico Marid might have all but relinquished their La Liga crown this season, the Spanish heavyweights are enjoying an eye-catching purple patch. Marking their return from the international break with a thumping 4-1 win against Alaves on home soil, Head Coach Diego Simeone has been filled with praise for his side’s stellar run of form. Heading into the fortnight break with a deserved 1-0 victory against Rayo Vallecano on the road, Los Colchoneros are in the midst of a six-match winning run across all formats. Making the trip to Old Trafford last month, they managed to knock out Manchester United thanks to a second-leg 1-0 win on foreign soil. Simply looking to cause another upset when they return to England on Tuesday night, Simeone does have one attacking MVP enjoying a real free-scoring campaign. Once again bagging a brace against Alaves last time out, Joao Felix has racked up seven goals in his last nine matchups for Atletico.
Atletico Madrid will be unable to call upon Belgium international winger Yannick Carrasco on Tuesday night as he serves the final game of his suspension.
However, Atletico have already confirmed that Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera will not feature here as he deals with a knock.
Key Factors to Consider
- Aside from a 3-2 defeat against Tottenham back in February, that is the only defeat that Manchester City have suffered from any of their previous 21 straight outings across all formats.
- Atletico Madrid have won each of their previous six matchups across all competitions, including a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford last month.
- Striking sensation Joao Felix has racked up seven goals in his last nine matchups for Atletico.
- Both of Tuesday’s opponents have conceded just a single strike in any of their last four contests.
- Four of Atletico’s last five Champions League fixtures have seen under 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
While Manchester City might open Tuesday’s first-leg as a standout pick with the bookmakers, Pep Guardiola’s side will know that they face a tough task on home soil. Watching Atletico mark their own return from the international break with a flurry at Alaves, we really have a showdown between two heavyweights enjoying their own purple patches. Although both sides might host a string of attacking stars at their disposal, we could be in for a low-scoring affair at the Etihad here. It should be noted, with both City and Atletico seeing conceding just a single strike from any of their previous four contests, we’re backing under 2.5 goals.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 21/20
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