Champions League: Manchester City vs Real Madrid Preview

By Guest writer, Wed 05 August 2020 18:20

Champions League: Manchester City vs Real Madrid Preview  

Manchester City go head-to-head with Real Madrid on Friday with a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League up for grabs.

Pep Guardiola’s team head into the game with a 2-1 lead following the first leg in Spain and they will be confident of completing the job back at the Etihad Stadium.

City are rated as 7/10 favourites to win the second leg and there will be plenty of punters using the new bet365 bonus code to back them to achieve the feat.

The Premier League team were worthy winners of the reverse fixture, with goals by Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne putting them in control of the tie.

However, it would be foolish to write off Madrid who subsequently went on to win the La Liga title for the first time in three seasons.

Sergio Aguero is City's main absentee for the tie, with the striker still on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery towards the back end of June.

Claudio Bravo also misses out through injury, while Benjamin Mendy is suspended, but Guardiola has no other selection concerns beyond that trio.

Sergio Ramos will sit out the game for Madrid following his dismissal in the first leg and Marcelo’s adductor injury is set to rule him out too.

City have been in decent form since the season resumed, winning nine of their 12 outings in all competitions.

Guardiola’s side have shown some defensive vulnerabilities during that run and will need to be wary of Madrid, particularly on the counter-attack.

City have previously kept just two clean sheets from 11 knockout ties in Europe under Guardiola and can ill-afford to hand the Spanish champions a route back into the tie.

Madrid will head to England in a buoyant mood having reeled off 10 successive wins in La Liga to storm clear of Barcelona in the title race.

Their two previous visits to the Etihad both ended all-square, with a 1-1 draw in the 2012/13 group stage followed by a goalless draw in the 2015/16 semi-finals.

City reached this stage of the competition after taking 14 points from a possible 18 in Group C, while Madrid finished second in Group B behind Paris Saint-Germain.

While City’s record of just four wins in 10 knockout matches in the competition in Manchester isn’t great, they should have enough about them to ease into the last eight.

Madrid’s form on their way to the Spanish title was excellent, although it is fair to say that their cause was helped by many of Barcelona’s top stars failing to produce consistent performances.

If City do make it through their most likely opponents are Juventus, with the Serie A side strongly fancied to recover from a 1-0 deficit against Lyon.

That game would be staged as a one-off tie in Portugal and is sure to attract a huge audience on live football streaming services.

With Barca or Bayern awaiting in the semi-finals, City will undoubtedly have to do things the hard way if they are to win the Champions League for the first time in their history.