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Champions League Preview: Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Real Madrid vs Manchester City
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Real Madrid vs Manchester City – The Champions League semi-final second leg kicks off on Wednesday evening and by the looks of it, Real Madrid will have a slight edge going into their home game with a 0-0 draw – even though Manchester City got a respectable result at home, the Spanish outfit are infinitely more experienced at this stage of the competition.

Going to the Santiago Bernabéu is never an easy task.

Head-to-Head

Not a lot of Football has been played between these two teams – only 3 matches in Champions League competition – Real Madrid has a slight advantage over City, having won 1 group stage match back in 2012, while the other two matches were both draws.

When looking at the record between clubs from the opponents’ country, it becomes clear just how experienced Real Madrid are in European competition.

Manchester City have played 16 games against Spanish opposition, winning only 5 and losing 7 while Real Madrid have played a whopping 33 matches against English Clubs, winning 13 and losing 10.

Talking Points

While this is a first semi-final in the competition for Manchester City, Real Madrid are in the last four for a record 27th time – they have won 13 and lost 13 of their previous semi-finals.

While Madrid are in the last four for the sixth year running, they have lost five of their last six UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Of those ties, they recorded four wins and a draw at home, losing only against Barcelona in the 2010/11 first leg.

Madrid have won all five home games in this season’s competition, including a 3-0 victory against VfL Wolfsburg in the quarter-final second leg to overturn a 2-0 away defeat, and an overwhelming 8-0 defeat of Malmö FF in December – the joint-biggest victory in 24 years of the UEFA Champions League. Overall at home they have scored 18 goals and conceded none.

Since that 2011 defeat by Barcelona, Madrid have lost only one of their 29 home games in the UEFA Champions League – 4-3 to FC Schalke 04 in last season’s round of 16 second leg, still winning 5-4 on aggregate – recording 25 victories.

The Merengues are unbeaten in their last nine games against English clubs (W6 D3) since a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the 2008/09 round of 16 second leg – their heaviest UEFA Champions League loss.

Madrid’s record in two-legged ties against English opponents is W7 L4.

The ten-time winners are unbeaten in their last four home games against Premier League visitors, although the two matches before that both ended in 1-0 home defeats, against Arsenal FC in 2005/06 and Liverpool in 2008/09. That Arsenal reverse ended an eight-match undefeated record at home to English sides.

This is City’s first European Cup semi-final. Their last two UEFA Champions League campaigns both ended in round of 16 defeat by Barcelona, in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The 3-1 aggregate win against Dynamo Kyiv in this season’s round of 16 – 3-1 away, 0-0 home – was City’s first European Cup knockout win. Aside from those Barcelona defeats, their only previous tie was a 2-1 aggregate loss by Fenerbahçe SK in the 1968/69 first round.

Manchester City have won three of their five away games in this season’s competition, although they went down 1-0 at Juventus on matchday five.

The Manchester club have already met Spanish opposition in this season’s competition, beating Sevilla FC 2-1 at home and 3-1 away in the group stage.

City’s away record against Spanish sides is W2 D1 L5; overall it is W5 D4 L7. They have won on two of their last four trips to Spain, however; against Sevilla and Villarreal CF in the 2011/12 group stage.

Their record in two-legged ties with Spanish sides is W1 L3.

City may have never been in the semi-finals before, but Pellegrini’s Villarreal side got this far in 2005/06, losing 1-0 to Arsenal FC over two legs.

City have lost all five of the UEFA competition ties in which they drew the home first leg, including one where that initial score was 0-0 – that 1968 European Cup tie with Fenerbahçe (1-2 away).

City’s eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions was ended by Sunday’s 4-2 defeat at Southampton FC.

Kelechi Iheanacho has four goals in his last two league appearances.

Yaya Touré suffered a right leg injury in the 4-0 victory over Stoke City FC on 23 April and sat out the first leg against Madrid and the Southampton match as a result.

David Silva was ruled out for two to three weeks with the hamstring injury he sustained in the semi-final first leg.

Predictions

When looking at the stats and history of the teams, one has to back Real Madrid to get the win over City on Wednesday. City did rest a host of key players this weekend which will give them some fresh legs but I’m not quite sure if that’s going to be enough.

In a season where the English teams struggled in Champions League football, City have done admirably to reach this stage but I think Real Madrid have too much talent and their home ground advantage will see them into the final.

Prediction: 2-0

WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE MATCH? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

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Written for The Pundits by @thatWallace

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