Man City vs Real Madrid UCL preview
Will the new kids on the block finally upstage the kings of Europe and establish a new world order in European football? That’s the question at the forefront as Manchester City seek to get over the Real Madrid hump in the UEFA Champions League.
Widely expected to dominate Real Madrid in the first legs, Manchester City again saw why Los Blancos are called the “Kings of Europe”. A moment of magic from Vinicius Jr was cancelled out by another inspired display by Kevin de Bruyne. Instead of a City lead, the tie is finely poised at 1-1- as Real Madrid travel to the Etihad Stadium.
Armed with their Norwegian cyborg Erling Haaland, the Cityzens have never been better placed to win the Champions League. But, as they say, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man”, and if the first leg was any indication, Real Madrid are not going away quietly.
It all makes for an exciting clash as upstarts challenge legacy in this UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg.
Man City vs Real Madrid lineups
Man City predicted lineup
Pep Guardiola has arguably the deepest squad in Europe at his disposal. Leading Everton at the weekend, he had the luxury of bringing on Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish off the bench. Clearly, injury worries are the last thought on Pep’s mind with such a deep squad.
Even the sole absentee, Nathan Ake, could return for this fixture, marking a clean injury slate for the Cityzens.
However, that doesn’t mean the selection of the first XI is straightforward. The problem of plenty is good, but it is a problem nonetheless.
One place that is not under question is Ederson in goal. Kyle Walker will also resume his tussle against Vinicius Jr on his right. Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji should round up the defence.
Rodri’s selection is also nailed on, having played the most minutes of any City player this season. John Stones was rested against Everton but he might stay on the bench against Real Madrid because Ilkay Gundogan put in a masterclass against the Toffees in his absence.
Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva’s place is also secure, with Guardiola valuing their ball-retaining and foul-winning abilities in a match that could become gung-ho. Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez will complete the attacking trio behind Erling Haaland, who would be keen to make his mark in this one after a quiet first leg.
Predicted Man City lineup: Ederson, Akanji, Dias, Walker, Gundogan, Rodri, Mahrez, Grealish, Silva, De Bruyne, Haaland
Real Madrid predicted lineup
Carlo Ancelotti rotated his squad heavily on the weekend against Getafe in La Liga, giving a clear glimpse of his starters for this much more important game.
Thibaut Courtois has made a habit of bringing his best to the top games and he will continue here in goal. Ahead of him will the reliable centre-back duo of David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger. Dani Carvajal should start on the right, with Eduardo Camavinga’s return from an apparent injury against Getafe will prove to be a big boost to their prospects.
The ageless wonders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will resume their partnership in the middle after being rested on the weekend at Santiago Bernabeu. Federico Valverde’s endless running will complement them.
Selection in attack is a no-brainer, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo will flank Karim Benzema, who will aim to outshine Erling Haaland after a quiet first game for both marquee strikers. All eyes will be on Vinicius Jr, who is making the Champions League look like his personal playground in recent years.
Predicted Real Madrid lineup: Courtois, Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Camavinga, Modric, Kroos, Valcerde, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr, Benzema
Man City vs Real Madrid prediction
The predictions about Real Madrid’s demise were greatly exaggerated before the first leg. The Manchester City vs Real Madrid head-to-head record doesn’t have anything to separate them either. However, a draw at Santiago Bernabeu is still a very good result. Furthermore, Manchester City are a different beast at home.
Expect Real Madrid to put up a valiant fight before succumbing to the might of the new kids on the block. Start of another European dynasty? Manchester City have all the tools to do it this year.
FootTheBall predicts Man City 3-1 Real Madrid.