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Manchester City vs Real Madrid preview

Team news

Manchester City are without top scorer Sergio Aguero for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid on Friday.

The Argentinian is still recovering from knee surgery but could return for the latter stages should City progress to the last-eight tournament in Lisbon.

Left-back Benjamin Mendy is suspended and goalkeeper number two goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is again doubtful with the muscular problem that has kept him out in recent weeks. New signings Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres cannot feature.

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard is a doubt with an ankle injury while Gareth Bale has been left out of the 24-man squad. Captain Sergio Ramos is suspended after being sent off in the first leg.

Mariano Diaz will not feature after testing positive for coronavirus while James Rodriguez was also omitted from the travelling party.

Opta facts

  • This is the third Champions League meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad; the previous two ended as draws (1-1 in 2012-13 group stage, 0-0 in 2015-16 semi-final first leg).
  • Real Madrid have won five of their 11 away Champions League games in England (W5 D3 L3), beating four different teams (Man Utd, Leeds United, Liverpool and Spurs). The only two teams to win away at five different English teams in the Champions League are Bayern Munich (5) and Barcelona (7).
  • In major UEFA European competition, Manchester City have progressed from all seven of their previous knockout ties when winning the first leg away from home.
  • Real Madrid are looking to overturn a first leg deficit in a Champions League knockout tie for the first time since the 2015-16 quarter-final against Wolfsburg, progressing from that tie (0-2 first leg, 3-0 second leg). They have never overturned a deficit after losing the first leg at home in four previous instances.
  • Man City manager Pep Guardiola has won 28 Champions League knockout matches, more than any other manager in the competition's history. Guardiola is looking to become the third manager to eliminate Real Madrid in the knockout stage more than once, along with Marcello Lippi (1995-96, 2002-03) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (2000-01, 2006-07).
  • Zinedine Zidane could be eliminated from a Champions League knockout tie for the first time, having been victorious in the previous 12. Zidane has won just two of his six Champions League games against English teams (33%).
  • Pep Guardiola's five home Champions League knockout matches as Manchester City manager (W3 L2) have produced 28 goals (18 scored, 10 conceded), with their three wins in this sequence coming via 5-3 (vs Monaco), 7-0 (vs FC Schalke 04) and 4-3 (vs Spurs) victories, producing 22 goals in total.
  • Real Madrid have won their last four away Champions League knockout matches since losing 2-1 to Atlético Madrid in the second leg of the 2016-17 semi-final.
  • Man City striker Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 14 goals in 16 Champions League starts (12 goals, 2 assists), finding the net in three of his four starts in the knockout stages.
  • Should they be eliminated, it would be the first time since a run of six seasons between 2004-05 and 2009-10 that Real Madrid haven't reached at least the Champions League quarter-finals in consecutive seasons, having gone out in the Last 16 in 2018-19.
  • In the first leg, Real Madrid had just nine shots against Manchester City, only attempting fewer in one previous Champions League game under Zinedine Zidane (seven vs Bayern Munich in April 2018).

Charlie's prediction

The Champions League is back with a couple of matches on both Friday and Saturday, but this is the best of them.

When the full-time whistle blew in Madrid, City could have been further in front, by three or four goals. So Real still have a chance and that is the sad part, as I would like to see City get through.

Real have re-captured La Liga, but when I looked at what Pep Guardiola was doing when he was chopping and changing his City team, he was doing it too often for me. He is trying to get minutes into their legs, but his team for the FA Cup semi-final - when Arsenal beat them - did not play as well as City can play.

If you are taking a risk like this for the Champions League, you make it a big risk. For the last 10 days or so, Pep will have been working on shape, especially with the likes Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and then Bernardo Silva or Riyad Mahrez. Does he utilise Mahrez to tease and torment Marcelo as he will not like it? But Mahrez will not like defending against Marcelo, so there will be lots to think about.

This tie is far from over and Madrid can comeback and hurt you big time as we have seen before. Pep knows how to get Real on the wrong foot and I think he will prove that again.

He played a false nine in Madrid and there is a possibility that this could happen again, with De Bruyne playing in that position. Gabriel Jesus has scored a few, but he is easier to mark. Sterling can threaten in behind Sergio Ramos to expose him too, so I am hopeful for City, but I do see both teams scoring goals.

For that reason, I am looking at a five-goal thriller. This is the build up to a real exciting Champions League campaign. Madrid will go for it and City can - and will - pick them off.

Four last-16 ties remaining

  • Manchester City vs Real Madrid (2-1)
  • Bayern Munich vs Chelsea (3-0)
  • Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1)
  • Juventus vs Lyon (0-1)

Quarter-final draw in full

  • Real Madrid or Manchester City vs Lyon or Juventus
  • RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid
  • Napoli or Barcelona vs Chelsea or Bayern
  • Atalanta vs PSG

Semi-final draw

  • Real Madrid/Manchester City or Lyon/Juventus vs Napoli/Barcelona or Chelsea/Bayern Munich
  • RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid vs Atalanta or Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League knockout stage - key dates

  • Champions League last-16 second legs: August 7-8
  • Champions League quarter-finals: August 12-15 (Lisbon)
  • Champions League semi-finals: August 18-19 (Lisbon)
  • Champions League final: August 23 (Estadio da Luz, Lisbon)

Source: Sky Sports

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