Two of the biggest clubs in the world clash at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday when Manchester City host Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Just two games stand between these teams and a place in the final, and it would come as no surprise to see the 2022 Champions League winner emerge from this tie. Man City enjoy home advantage for this first leg and will be looking to make it count, taking an aggregate lead to Spain for the rematch. That’s the ideal scenario for those with a passion for the Premier League champions as they aim to avoid having to win in Spain.
Real Madrid are the visitors in England and know they face a tough 90 minutes. The Spaniards hope to avoid a heavy defeat in Manchester with the aim of ensuring this tie remains competitive when the second leg kicks off. They have the skills and flair to score in the first leg, and supporters believe they are good enough to claim the win, but the La Liga champions will be pushed hard by their hosts. Will Real Madrid score their first victory over Man City in six years, or will City claim a third win over Madrid on the bounce?
Football fans have a hectic midweek ahead, and many will take their guidance from the stats. When flicking through the head to head scores associated with this fixture, we note the even split of two wins, each with a pair of draws. The most recent game was played two summers ago when Man City won 2-1 thanks to goals from Sterling and Jesus. Each of the last two have produced 2-1 wins for Man City, and supporters hope for a treble.
City hammered the Hornets
Man City were last seen in action on Saturday afternoon when hammering Watford at the Etihad Stadium. That was a match Pep Guardiola’s men were expected to win and win well, but the players went above and beyond in that match. No one in the squad allowed their minds to drift towards midweek and what will be the biggest game of their season so far. They were complete professionals, giving struggling Watford their complete attention. Man City won that home Premier League match against the Hornets with an emphatic 5-1 score, and they didn’t need to hit top gear to achieve it either.
The victors were in great form that day, but we give a special mention to Gabrial Jesus, who finished the match with four goals, running the Londoners ragged during his time on the pitch. Jesus hit the opener inside the first four minutes of the game, and the match was over as a contest by the 53 minutes mark, with City scoring all five goals in that period. They then appeared to take their foot off the gas, and with the job done, they coasted to the finish line. With Jesus scoring four of his team’s five goals, the other was credited to Rodri.
Such an emphatic win over Watford means Man City have now played seven times already this month in many different competitions. There have been plenty of highlights for the fans in addition to that 5-1 win over Watford. Other results of note include the 3-0 at home over Brighton, 1-0 over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals and an important 2-2 draw when hosting Liverpool, which should be enough to see them retain the Premier League trophy by keeping the Reds at arm’s length, although that war hasn’t been won yet.
Madrid made light work of Osasuna
Real Madrid are in complete control of the Spanish La Liga as they edge towards another famous title win. The Spaniards famously lost the prize to bitter rivals Atletico Madrid last season, but the champions are weaker this year than they were last, and with Barcelona’s off-field problems, Blancos were the hot favourites before a ball had been kicked in anger. Credit must go to the players as they have been consistent throughout their domestic and European campaigns. They look ready for an assault on the Champions League.
The La Liga table has Real Madrid as the pacesetters with 78 points on the board, which is already 15 points more than nearest rivals Barcelona. That is a big enough cushion to allow them to focus on Europe, and Blancos travel to the UK on the back of a four-match winning run in La Liga. They have been faultless during that spell, and the players will walk onto the turf at the Etihad Stadium knowing they are in great shape.
This is a huge opportunity for Real Madrid. They have won the Champions League many times in the past and rate as Europe’s most successful team, but this season’s journey has been something a bit special. Winning the trophy next month will show Real Madrid are back to full strength and ready to enjoy a period of dominance in Spain and on the continent. The only thing standing in their way at present is a rival on a similar journey.
Man City v Real Madrid prediction
This is a meeting of two free-scoring teams who are good enough to win this competition but a nervy 90 minutes is expected. Man City know they must win at home to give themselves the best chance of going through, while Real Madrid aim to remain competitive when this one heads back to Spain. They can afford a narrow 1-0 or one-goal defeat, then try to overturn it next week in the second leg.
A high-scoring affair is unlikely, and this could be similar to the tight win for Man City over Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals. There is so much at stake here, and no player on the field will want their error to be the reason their team is eliminated.
Champions League odds
The pre-match betting odds available at 22bet have Man City priced at 1.45 with Real Madrid available at 6.65 and the draw 4.7.
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