Thursday, December 3

Madrid face daunting task at Man City tonight

Real Madrid will be looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit when they travel to Manchester City for the second leg of their last-16 Champions League contest on Friday night.

City recorded an impressive victory when the pair met at the Bernabeu back in February, meaning that Madrid have plenty to do if they are to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition once again.

Pep Guardiola‘s side did lift the EFL Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win over Aston Villa back in March, but it would go down as a disappointing campaign if that was the only silverware that they were to secure in 2019-20.

The English giants are in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, though, holding a 2-1 advantage from the first leg of their last-16 clash with Madrid at the Bernabeu. Isco sent Los Blancos ahead on the night, but City answered back through Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.

City would have been feeling good about themselves after the first leg, but there is a degree of uncertainty heading into the reserve match due to what has transpired across the world of football in recent months

City ended their Premier League season with a thumping 5-0 win over Norwich City, which saw them finish on 81 points, 18 behind champions Liverpool in the Premier League table. They have been full of goals since returning to the field in June but have also lost to Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal.

The Citizens were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, while they have only won one of their five two-legged knockout ties against Spanish opposition, losing each of their last four, which will be a concern as they prepare to welcome the reigning La Liga champions.

City’s last home game against a Spanish club saw them lose 3-1 to Barcelona in the group stages of the 2016-17 competition, although they have won four and lost just two of their nine previous home matches against teams from Spain.

City ended their Premier League season with a thumping 5-0 win over Norwich City, which saw them finish on 81 points, 18 behind champions Liverpool in the Premier League table. They have been full of goals since returning to the field in June but have also lost to Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal.

The Citizens were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, while they have only won one of their five two-legged knockout ties against Spanish opposition, losing each of their last four, which will be a concern as they prepare to welcome the reigning La Liga champions.

City’s last home game against a Spanish club saw them lose 3-1 to Barcelona in the group stages of the 2016-17 competition, although they have won four and lost just two of their nine previous home matches against teams from Spain.

Madrid’s stunning form post-lockdown saw them wrestle the La Liga title away from Barcelona, ultimately finishing five points clear at the top of the table. Los Blancos actually won 10 straight games in the league before ending their domestic campaign with a 2-2 draw at Leganes on July 19.

Zinedine Zidane‘s side have had longer than City to prepare for this match; in fact, the English side have played twice in the Premier League since Madrid last took to the field, although it remains to be seen whether that helps or hinders either club on Friday night.

The visitors will be without the inspirational Sergio Ramos for this game, but it has been a real team effort from the capital giants since returning to the field in June, and there is no question that they will fancy their chances of causing problems to a City defence that continues to show deficiencies.

Last season was actually the first time since 2009-10 that Madrid failed to reach at least the semi-finals of the competition as they bowed out to Ajax in the round of 16, and an exit at this stage would have to go down as another huge disappointment considering their pedigree in the competition.

Zidane’s team picked up 11 points in the group stages of this season’s competition to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain in Group B, meaning that they have been runners-up in their group in three of their last four campaigns, which is somewhat of a surprise considering their success.

Madrid have won their last seven away matches in the round of 16, though, while they have been victorious in 16 of their last 25 European away fixtures, suffering just five defeats, which is a brilliant record at this level.

The Spanish outfit have also won eight of their 12 two-legged knockout ties against English clubs in European competition, notably overcoming City in the semi-finals back in 2016 courtesy of a 1-0 success.

That said, only on one previous occasion have Madrid lost the home first leg of a European tie and still managed to progress, which occurred back in 1971. A 1-1 draw in the reverse match at the Bernabeu would not have been the end of the world for Los Blancos, but De Bruyne’s penalty seven minutes from time means that City have room for error in the second leg in Manchester.

Man City Champions League form: WWDDWW
Man City form (all competitions): WWWLWW

Real Madrid Champions League form: DWWDWL
Real Madrid form (all competitions): WWWWWD


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