Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Preview and Prediction

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are all set to host Real Madrid at the Etihad for the second leg of the quarter-final tie.

Real Madrid have never defeated Manchester City at the Etihad, and that will have to happen if they want to go through to the next round. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s team can take another step towards defending the Champions League title with a win over the record champions at home.

The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu was a goal-scoring thriller, where both teams found the back of the net on three occasions. While Manchester City had the majority of the ball, both teams created a similar amount of chances.

The Premier League champions were focused on keeping the ball and pushing up the field, while Los Blancos were looking to hit them on the break. The fans got to witness some absolute bangers in the first leg. And, with the tie level at 3-3, the second leg promises to be another edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Manchester City have the opportunity to create history and win back-to-back trebles. After playing out a draw against Real Madrid, they smashed Luton Town 5-1 and saw title challengers Arsenal and Liverpool both suffer defeats. As a result, City are now on top of the Premier League, are already in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are battling Real Madrid for a spot in the UCL semi-finals.

Real Madrid also have a chance of creating history having never won at the Etihad. Given the kind of hammering they took at the hands of Manchester City away from home (4-0), they will not only look to create history, but the team in white will look to avenge that defeat.

Los Blancos are on top of La Liga, and they beat RCD Mallorca 1-0 at the weekend to maintain their eight-point lead at the top. It was not their best performance, and they will have to bring their best to the table to stand a chance against Manchester City. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, and Nathan Ake were all in the squad for the Luton Town game, which means they should be fit to start here alongside Kevin De Bruyne, who did not feature against Real Madrid in the first leg.

John Stones missed the Luton Town game because of a minor discomfort and he should be available to start here. Pep Guardiola will go ahead with the 4-3-3 formation, where Ederson Moraes will be in goal. Walker will be the right-back, while Josko Gvardiol will take charge as the left-back.

Ruben Dias and Stones will be the centre-back pairing for the home team. They will look to keep things tight at the back. In the centre of the park, Rodri will be the defensive midfielder, while Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne will be in his support.

The trio will look to ensure they the have majority of the ball and the Madrid midfielders do not get many opportunities to weave their magic. Phil Foden and Jeremy Doku will provide the width to their attack while star striker Erling Haaland will be leading the line.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Gvardiol; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Haaland, Doku

Manchester City vs Real Madrid predicted XI

Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are out injured, while Aurelien Tchouameni is suspended having picked up a milestone yellow in the first leg but he is still a part of the travelling squad.

Carlo Ancelotti will be tempted to make changes to the system. But he might end up backing his team and going ahead with the 4-4-2 formation, where Andriy Lunin will continue in goal. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy will be the full-backs for the home team, while Nacho Fernandez will take Tchouameni’s place in the XI and feature alongside Antonio Rudiger.

Eduardo Camavinga will shield the back line while Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde will be in his support. The trio will look to ensure the Manchester City midfielders do not end up dominating the proceedings. Jude Bellingham will continue as the attacking midfielder, while Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior will feature up top as the two forwards.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Lunin; Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Mendy; Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr

Manchester City vs Real Madrid predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Manchester City have won four out of the last 11 UEFA Champions League games against Real Madrid while the visitors have only won three.
  • Pep Guardiola’s team could become only the second team to knock Los Blancos out of UCL in consecutive seasons. The last team to do it was AC Milan back in 1989 and 1990.
  • Real Madrid have never won against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, the last three matches have all been won by Guardiola’s team.
  • 23 goals have been scored in the last five matches between the two teams.
  • Real Madrid have only made it to the next round on two out of the last ten occasions in the UEFA Champions League after failing to win the first leg at home.

Player to Watch

Jude Bellingham

Embed from Getty Images

Bellingham’s presence is what will give Real Madrid fans hope that they won’t suffer the kind of defeat they did last time out at the Etihad. The English international hardly had any impact on the first leg, and Carlo Ancelotti will hope he brings his ‘A’ game to the table when they face Guardiola’s men in their backyard.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has 20 goals and ten assists this season, and he will be eager to add it against City. On paper, Manchester City are the favourites. But given the kind of players Real Madrid have in their ranks, one cannot rule them out from a European fixture.


Manchester City 2-3 Real Madrid

Everything seems to be in favour of the home team and given the fact that Kevin De Bruyne was not even involved in the first leg, the general feeling is that it will be another tough night for Real Madrid at the Etihad. But, given what Carlo Ancelotti has done over the years, he is expected to find a way out to give his team a chance to go through.

We could see a Real Madrid team that sits back and defends only to hit the opposition on the break. It will still be a high-scoring thriller and The Hard Tackle predicts a major upset as Los Blancos will go through with a 3-2 win on the night. (6-5 on aggregate)

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