Manchester City Have Slender Lead Against Mighty Madrid

Last updated: August 6, 2020 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Friday, 7th August 20:15
Venue: Etihad
Coverage: BT Sport
Home Form: WWLWW
Away Form: WWWWD
Last Meeting: Real Madrid 1 – 2 Man City
Competition: UEFA Champions League

Champions League football is back with a highly-anticipated second leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid. Pep Guardiola’ side face the most successful side in the competition, hoping to see out a 2 – 1 first-leg win in the biggest clash of the Round of 16.

The Citizens last triumph in Europe was lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1969-70, their best run in Europe’s premier tournament was a semi-final finish in 2016. They were knocked out of the Champions League in the previous two campaigns by Liverpool and more agonisingly by Tottenham Hotspurs.

Pep Guardiola is, however, a very unpredictable manager and likes to surprise with his tactics and line-ups. Who would have thought Gabriel Jesus would be an auxiliary left-back and De Byrne could play as a false number nine as they did in their 2 – 1 first-leg win at the Santiago Bernabeu? This severe overthinking and maverick team selection has been a successful tactic, especially in the domestic cups. However, some believe this tinkering is the cause of Pep’s perennial failure in the Champions League. He has failed to put his hands on the prestigious trophy since he left Barcelona.

It is yet to be determined whether the club’s record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero, will be fit for the encounter. The Argentine has 16 league goals and two Champions League goals this season, but a knee injury has made the 32-year-old a severe doubt for the game. City’s attacking threat will be in the shape of the excellent Kevin De Bruyne. His assists have been vital, making 20 in the league which equalled the record for a Premier League season that was set by Thierry Henry.

Real Madrid, the 13 times European winners are back at the helm of Spain after securing their 34th La Liga title. The level of experience and confidence in the Real Madrid squad is a force to be reckoned with; the club has won four European trophies in the last decade.

They boast the best defensive line in Europe this season and the 25 goals conceded, and 19 clean sheets is the best for 40 years. The stability at the back combined with pace on the counterattack seems the perfect recipe to beat Pep’s tactics. They have been in exceptional form with the draw on the final day of the Spanish league ending a run of ten consecutive wins. However, in the Champions League, they haven’t been so solid. They have conceded ten goals in five home games in the competition.

Despite netting just once, Eden Hazard could be the most resourceful player in this encounter with great knowledge about the opposition. Karim Benzema has been on the peak of his career with 25 goals and ten assists in 42 appearances this season.

The winner of this encounter has a tough draw ahead having to face either Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals. It doesn’t get any easier if they progress with potentially either Bayern or Barcelona in the semi-finals.

An interesting fact is that since the restart of football in the UK, the win rate at home for the top six went from 62% to 81%. These figures are different from the trends we witnessed in the Bundesliga. In the German leagues, the home advantage was effectively wiped out with away wins more common.

Team News

Aguero is still recovering from knee surgery and is likely to miss the second leg. Benjamin Mendy is suspended.

Man City have never won or featured in the finals of the UEFA Champions League with their best run reaching the semi-final in 2016.

The La Liga Champions have the best defensive record in Europe with just 25 goals conceded in 38 games.

Captain Sergio Ramos will miss though suspension and Marcelo is injured.

Expected Line-Ups:

Man City (4-2-3-1): Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Lapote, Cancelo, Rodri, Guendogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, B.Silva, G.Jesus
Subs: Carson, Otamendi, D.Silva, Jesus, Foden, Sterling, Zinchenko, Sane, Mahrez
Injured: Aguero
Not available: Mendy
Real Madrid (4-3-2-1): Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Militao, Mendy, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Hazard, Isco, Benzema
Subs: Areola, Fernandez, Bale, Valverde, Vazquez, Jovic, Asensio, Diaz, V.Junior
Injured: Marcelo
Not available: S.Ramos

So Far This Season

. . .
Man City This Season Madrid This Season
2nd League Position 1st
4 (2) Wins (away) 3 (2)
5 – 1 v Atlanta Biggest Win 6 – 0 v Galatasaray
2 (1) Draws (away) 2 (0)
Biggest Defeat 0 – 3 v PSG
G.Jesus (5) Top Goal Scorer Benzema (4)
Y14, R2 Discipline Y12, R1
0 Failures to Score 14
29% Clean Sheets 29%
71% Both Teams to Score Games 57%
57% Over 2.5 Goals 86%
43% Under 2.5 Goals 14%
  • Seven encounters, Madrid winning three against the Citizens 2 wins, with two draws between them.
  • One side loves possession football while the other are the kings of counterattack football.
  • Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have five goals and two assists each while Benzema is Real Madrid’s most prolific player with four goals and two assists while Rodrygo has four goals and one assist.
  • Man City have an average of 2.57 goals in the Champions League while the visitors have a goals average of 2.14 goals per match in 2020.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
26/02/2020 UEFA Madrid 1 – 2 Man City Isco 60’
04/04/2016 UEFA Madrid 1 – 0 Man City Fernando 20’
26/04/2016 UEFA Man City 0 – 0 Madrid
21/11/2012 UEFA Man City 1 – 1 Madrid Benzema 10’
18/09/2012 UEFA Madrid 3 – 2 Man City Marcelo 76’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Pep Guardiola has an unrivalled knowledge of the Spanish league and players, having been the manager of Madrid’s bitter rivals for four years between 2008 – 2012. Losing to Tottenham on away goals in the quarter-final stage last year will still hurt, and City will want to say farewell to Bernardo Silva in the best possible way, by winning the Champions League.

Real Madrid since the restart has been an absolute beast and have won almost every game they have played and have every reason to be confident of overturning the one-goal deficit. Karim Benzema is outstanding upfront (21 goals, eight assists), the midfield has Eden Hazard, Casemiro and Toni Kroos and the defence contains Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo. They will fancy their chances.

City has put themselves in the driving seat with a fantastic result in the first leg. In the league, they scored 21 goals in the last five games and have the players to cause Madrid problems. You cannot, however, ignore the pedigree, form and quality of Madrid, they know how to win this competition.

It is that experience we believe will be crucial, and for that reason, we are going for a 2-1 win for Madrid. This bet is available @ 12/1 at bet365.