Friday, May 24, 2024

Prediction: Manchester City vs Real Madrid

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: 888sport

Following a thrilling encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu last week, Manchester City and Real Madrid are set to meet again for the return leg of their Champions League quarterfinal at the Etihad on Wednesday night.

The first leg lived up to its hype and more, with both teams delivering spectacular strikes in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Now, the victor of Wednesday’s clash will earn a spot in the semifinals, where they will face either Arsenal or Bayern Munich.

Manchester City

Encounters between Manchester City and Real Madrid in the Spanish capital rarely disappoint, and last week’s first leg was no exception. Rodrygo’s goal and a Ruben Dias own goal swiftly responded to Bernardo Silva’s impressive free kick in a frantic opening 15 minutes.

Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol then scored two more stunning goals for City, only for Real Madrid to level the score once again with Federico Valverde’s exquisite volley, culminating in a thrilling six-goal spectacle.

Coincidentally, Manchester City’s last two Premier League matches also ended with six goals each, with Guardiola’s side emerging victorious both times. They staged a comeback against Crystal Palace and comfortably defeated relegation-threatened Luton Town 5-1 over the weekend.

City’s joy was further compounded by losses from Arsenal and Liverpool on Sunday, putting them ahead of both rivals in the Premier League title race by two points. However, City will remain aware that their lead is not insurmountable, despite the pessimistic overreactions from some Arsenal and Liverpool fans.

Having remained unbeaten in 27 matches across all competitions since their defeat to Aston Villa in December, City have more than just a semifinal place at stake this week. Progression would also see them equal a club-record 42-game unbeaten streak at home, a feat last achieved in 1921.

Team News

Guardiola and his team received a significant fitness boost ahead of the weekend’s match against Luton. Phil Foden, who was substituted with a knock in the first leg, and the ill Kevin De Bruyne both made the squad, along with Kyle Walker and Nathan Ake.

As a result, there’s no indication that the quartet won’t be fit to start the return fixture. The only minor concern for the holders is John Stones, who missed the Luton match due to a niggle. Guardiola clarified that Stones was dealing with discomfort rather than a more serious issue.

With potentially all players available at this crucial juncture in the season, City are expected to recall the likes of Rodri, Silva, and Foden, who were given deserved breaks on Saturday.

Real Madrid

Since November 2022, prior to the Qatar World Cup, Manchester City haven’t experienced a defeat at the Etihad Stadium. However, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid are known for their ability to make remarkable Champions League comebacks against City.

Thanks to Valverde’s decisive volley in the last week’s match, Real Madrid remain undefeated in the 2023/24 Champions League campaign. They head to Manchester with a flawless record from their four away games in the current edition, albeit winning all by just a single goal margin.

In their recent La Liga fixture against Mallorca, a lone goal from Aurelien Tchouameni secured a 1-0 victory for Real Madrid, maintaining their eight-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the table with seven games remaining. However, Tchouameni will be suspended for Wednesday’s contest.

Although Real Madrid’s unbeaten streak may not match their hosts’, a run of 15 games without defeat is still impressive. Additionally, the 14-time Champions League winners have a bit of history on their side ahead of Wednesday’s match.

Real Madrid have only managed to advance from two of their last 10 Champions League ties when failing to win the opening leg, both times against Manchester United in 1999/2000 and 2012/13. However, facing Manchester City, United’s currently more successful rivals, especially at a ground where they suffered a 4-0 defeat last year, may present a different challenge.

Team News

Real continue to contend with long-term absentees Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba, who remain sidelined due to ACL injuries. However, Eder Militao, who is gradually recovering match fitness, made a brief appearance in the weekend’s victory over Mallorca.

With Tchouameni suspended for the upcoming match due to accumulating his third yellow card in the current Champions League season, Militao could be considered as a replacement option and make his first start since returning to action. Despite being included in the traveling squad, however, the Brazilian’s limited playing time may hinder his chances.

As a result, club captain Nacho Fernandez is likely to partner Antonio Rudiger in central defence. Eduardo Camavinga, who scored with a deflected shot against Manchester City in the first leg, is expected to continue operating in midfield.

Conclusion

In the last five encounters between Manchester City and Real Madrid, a total of twenty-three goals have been scored, averaging at 4.6 goals per game. With both teams possessing fully-fit attacking options, another captivating match is expected.

While a repeat of the four-goal defeat suffered by Real Madrid under 12 months ago seems unlikely, Manchester City has been formidable at home, although their defensive solidity has been questioned. Therefore, Manchester City are arguably likely to maintain their pursuit for consecutive continental triumphs and hand Real Madrid a familiar sense of disappointment in Manchester.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

SHARE OR COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

WE RECOMMEND

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required *

Join the conversation!

or Register

Live Scores

advertisement

Betting Guide Advertisement

advertisement

Become a Writer
More More
Top