Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City
One of the most incredible games of football is ready for its second iteration. Atletico Madrid put on a defensive masterclass in England. However, a clever piece of play between Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne unlocked the Spaniards to put Manchester City in control.
Los Rojiblancos were expected to sit back and defend deep. That has long been a specialty of Diego Simeone over the years in big games. They had zero shots on target and were very close to eking out a draw. However, they were undone in the final moments and will need to score twice at home.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) April 10, 2022
Atletico’s problems were further compounded by a loss against Mallorca over the weekend. That cut their points gap to Real Betis to just one point. Joao Felix has been finding some form but the lack of creativity remains an issue. Simeone will have to be adventurous in his approach which can see Antonine Griezmann pushed further forward.
City are in the perfect position to advance. They have the lead, and will certainly be buoyed after their strong performance against Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s side have constantly been one of the best in the world with no signs of slowing down. This is the kind of faith that has him saying stuff like he sees his retirement with City. Kevin De Bruyne is hitting his peak form at the correct moment.
A titanic title race clash! 📈💥 pic.twitter.com/Ekcu3S1ll7
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 10, 2022
Gabriel Jesus has constantly proven how valuable he is to the team and in Joao Cancelo, they have a wingback who can create an offensive threat. However, the Cityzens will have to be wary for Atletico’s quick attacks. There have been instances in the previous rounds when Atletico were able to hit opponents suddenly. Nevertheless, it is advantage City as of right now.
Hector Herrera is the only absentee for Simeone for this clash. Luis Suarez will be looking to make an impact off the bench.
PROBABLE LINE-UP: Oblak; Savic, Gimenez, Felipe; Llorente, De Paul, Koke, Kondogbia, Lodi; Felix, Griezmann
Guardiola will be happy to welcome back Kyle Walker which means Cancelo will slide over to the left.
PROBABLE LINE-UP: Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Stones, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Foden, Sterling, Mahrez
Foden’s assist in the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid was a thing of beauty. The 21-year-old is a literal gamechanger with his energy, desire, and drive to attack at every opportunity.
Foden down the left or through the middle is a scary proposition for any team. He regularly got behind Trent Alexander-Arnold against Liverpool, holding up the ball and playing teammates into dangerous areas.
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) April 5, 2022
Foden can run with the ball quickly and supply dangerous crosses. Moreover, he can shoot on sight and one of his favorite options is to rifle across the goalkeeper. Atletico’s three center-backs have to be wary of not being outdone by pace. Marcos Llorente has to do his defensive work diligently if City’s threat down the left is to be contained.
For Atletico, it is hard to see who steps up in the attacking sense given how little was on offer in the first leg. If one man can step up, it is Felix who is having a good season. He has eight goals and four assists but Felix’s gameplay is much more than numbers. The way he can impact games, and make driving, penetrating runs at opponents is crucial. City are a solid side, make no mistake.
🔥 3 goals & 4 dribbles 🔥
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) April 8, 2022
However, they do have chinks in their armor as Liverpool exposed. The fullbacks can be found too high at times, leaving spaces behind. City love playing out from the back so well sustained pressure from Atletico will be key. Felix can break defensive lines and run quickly which can trouble their opponents.
First things first, Atletico Madrid have to attack or otherwise, they are already out. That will leave City with opportunities to score themselves and put the tie to bed. FootTheBall predicts a 1-1 draw between the two teams.