Manchester City Vs Real Madrid Match Preview
While Madrid fans may be waving their flags high ahead of their only second meeting with Manchester City, first of which they had won 4-3 on aggregate in 2012/13 Champions League group stages, their joy may not stretch beyond the day as Pellegrini looks eager to leave Etihad on a high note. It’s the sixth successive foray into the last four for Real Madrid who also look to stretch their unbeaten run in the last 8 games against English teams. Were City to defeat Real Madrid, they would be the first English team after Liverpool to have beaten the Los Blancos after 2008/9. Whether City reaches its first ever Finals will depend a lot on this match. Manchester City Vs Real Madrid, an epic encounter expected to be filled with brutal attacking from both ends.
So far this Season
City has kept clean sheets in their last two UCL home games against Dynamo Kiev and Paris Saint-Germain while Aguero has not scored in his last three Champions League matches. Among the semifinalists, City have had the least average possession of 48% and have kept only one clean sheet against Spanish opponents out of the 10 games so far in UCL, against Villarreal in 2011. City have scored more goals (7) in the last 15 minutes of the game than any other team.
Real Madrid who have been on the upsurge of late have kept the most clean sheets and won the most games(8) in UCL this season. Real Madrid’s star forward Ronaldo has contributed 77% of their goals this season, scoring a staggering 16 goals (twice of any other player) and assisting in 3. He was rested against Vallecano due to a small injury but is likely to be fit against City on the 26th. Real Madrid are in a formidable form in La Liga with a 9 game winning streak. If Ronaldo has an off day as he had against Wolfsburg in the first leg, City may have an easier time with Benzema’s form and fitness of late being a bit wayward.
Manchester City Vs Real Madrid Squad Battle
City may be without Yaya Toure who seemed to have strained his thigh against Stoke in the league game. Sagna may still not be fit while Clichy and Kompany are back in training. Iheanacho’s brace against Stoke on Saturday may see him come in as a sub if needed while Fernandinho and De Bruyne who were rested in the last game are to start. Raheem Sterling, though fit, may find himself out of favor in place of Pellegrini’s blue eyed boy, Jesus Navas. City is most likely to field the same team as they did against PSG and hope to recreate some of the same magic. Though City had won with a 4-0 margin against Stoke in their latest League game, their performance was far from convincing.
The only danger that City may find difficult to deal with may be the dynamic Bale on the right-hand side. If Benzema is deemed unfit, Jese may start as their center forward. Casemiro’s influence in the central midfield, especially in a defensive role, may prove to be vital.
Chances for Manchester City
It’s going to be a tall order to stop the twin attacks of Gareth Bale and Ronaldo as both Clichy and Zabaleta are bit slow in tracking back and making interceptions. Both known for their forward movement have been rather patchy in creating chances with their forward runs this season. With center backs, Eliquiem Mangala prone to making reckless tackles and Nicolas Otamendi moving too forward to track back in time to stop an attack, City’s defense is banking on Vincent Kompany to take charge at the back in place of Mangala. It’s going to take an inspiring effort from the veterans Zabaleta and Kompany to keep the Madrid strikers at bay.
If at all City has to score goals ,the magician, David Silva has to find his form and feet again. Bogged by an ankle problem, Silva has been performing rather poorly by his standards. Silva is making inaccurate passes and losing the possession once too often. It’s going to be his vision along with a masterclass by Kevin De Bruyne that may see Sergio Aguero scoring for Manchester city. Both Fernando and Fernandinho along with the Center backs would be well advised not to play a high line of defense as Modric and Kroos can infiltrate the midfield very easily with their pacy incisive passes to the front three.
Manchester City Vs Real Madrid Predicted Starting XI
Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Fernando, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, David Silva, De Bruyne and Aguero.