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Man City vs Real Madrid – Analysis, Prediction, Team News

Wednesday 17th May 2023
20:00 GMT
Etihad Stadium

As part of our Champions League predictions, we examine the second leg of Man City’s semi-final clash with Real Madrid. This is a re-run of last year’s semi-final – will it have a happier ending for Pep’s men this time around? Read on with our Man City vs Real Madrid prediction.

Man City

Real Madrid

1-1 (A)

Bayern Munich

1-1 (A)

Bayern Munich

3-0 (H)

RB Leipzig

7-0 (H)

RB Leipzig

1-1 (A)

Real Madrid

Man City

1-1 (H)


2-0 (A)


2-0 (H)


1-0 (H)


5-2 (A)

Man City vs Real Madrid Preview

In a highly engaging encounter in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, both sides will be reasonably happy with the 1-1 draw they played out. Both Manchester City and Real Madrid can lay claim to being the dominant team for one half – City in the first, Real in the second. Further reflecting the balanced nature of the tie is the fact that both sides managed to score against the run of play – Vinicius Junior’s spectacular strike was Real Madrid’s only attempt at goal in the first half, while Kevin De Bruyne’s equally impressive strike was one of just two City attempts on target in the second half.

The xG statistics were on the low side – 0.69 vs 0.67 as both defences were well organised for the most part. In such high-quality encounters, it’s often the case that elite players outperform their xG stats and therefore it perhaps doesn’t have the same impact as it does on your average football result. Therefore, it was no real surprise that the game’s outcome hinged upon two moments of real quality.

With City chasing a fifth Premier League title in six years, they weren’t afforded the luxury of resting virtually their entire team as Real Madrid opted to do. Truthfully, their 3-0 victory over relegation-threatened Everton flattered them, but at this stage of the season, it’s the points that matter and City have a lot more quality to call upon in front of goal than Everton do. Also, despite their lowly league position, Everton are something of a stylistic threat to teams such as City, Arsenal and Brighton.

As you might expect when resting players wholesale, Real Madrid put in a workmanlike performance in seeing off Getafe 1-0. They may have enjoyed 77% possession but they registered just 3 shots on target to Getafe’s 2 and were made to wait until the 70th minute for their breakthrough. With Champions League qualification now assured for next season, Ancelotti’s men are merely playing for league position – trying to hold off Atletico in third place.

Team News

Injuries and Suspensions

Man City:

Might Not Play:

Will Not Play: Ake

Real Madrid:

Might Not Play:

Will Not Play:

Man City vs Real Madrid Lineups (Predicted)

Man City: (3-2-4-1 / 4-2-3-1) Ederson; Walker, Dias, Akanji; Rodri, Stones; Grealish, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Silva; Haaland

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Alaba, Rudiger, Militao, Carvajal; Kroos, Modric, Valverde; Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, Benzema

Man City vs Real Madrid Lineup
Real Madrid vs Man City Lineup

Man City vs Real Madrid Analysis

Man City Will Play with a Higher Tempo

For the first half hour at the Santiago Bernabeu, City were largely dominant and it was because they were able to move the ball quickly and precisely. Generally speaking, to beat Real Madrid at the top of their game it’s not enough to retain the ball at all costs and grind them down – they’re far too dangerous on the break to turn over the ball to them across your own backline/defensive midfielders.

So what City did instead, and did very effectively before Vinicius Jr. stunned them with a strike of the highest quality, was to play more of a vertical game in possession, looking to stretch and pin Real Madrid in. It almost paid dividends as they created several clear chances and forced Courtois into making some excellent saves. Their best chance of victory is to replicate that first half hour or so because as the saying goes, ‘on another day…’.

Therefore, we anticipate that City’s coaching staff will recognise the need to play at a higher tempo with pace and movement and will try to establish a lead early on to build on. Real were able to create some dangerous situations on the break but that’s par for the course – it’s incredibly difficult to stop them doing so, and therefore it’s better for City to concentrate on creating their own chances and taking risks rather than playing cautious possession-heavy football which normally would favour the visitors.

Real Madrid Could Use City’s Aggressive Approach Against Them

Yes, this is the cliched possession versus counterattacking scenario, but the truth is that Real Madrid are so dangerous in transition with their highly creative midfield and an inventive attacking unit that can seem to be telepathic on occasions. Last season’s Champions League triumph was written off as ‘luck’ by many observers, but when they do it so often on the big occasions, how much luck is really involved?

An alternative viewpoint would suggest that Real are set up to do maximum damage with the talent they have at their disposal. Against lesser teams, they’re more of a typical vertical tiki-taka team and would expect to have north of 60% possession in most games, but when they come up against the better sides in Europe they’re specialists in exploiting mistakes.

They know that because of their creative and attacking talent, they don’t need quite so many chances compared with most other teams, and therefore they can shore up their defence and enjoy attacking into space in transition. They’re not afraid to go long when the opportunity presents itself to set free the likes of Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo in wide positions, and sometimes their mere presence can force other teams to be cautious about committing their own players forward.

Our Prediction

Manchester City are heavy favourites with the bookies at just outside 1/2 with most outlets. There is a solid chance that City can win this game and reach their second Champions League final in three seasons, the implied odds of 66% for City versus just 18% for Real Madrid seems instinctively wrong. We’re also factoring in that Real Madrid will be well-rested, and they won’t be panicked by a strong City start.

We feel that extra time is a strong possibility in this match. As for the winner? We feel this is more of a coin flip. Ordinarily, we’d take City’s superior domestic showing and their 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu to suggest that they can finish the job at home, but Real Madrid are a very difficult team to kill off. Additionally, granted that
City rested a few players, they were vulnerable at times against Everton and Real are incredibly strong in transition. Therefore, we’re going with a high-scoring draw in normal time, extra time and penalties.

Man City 2-2 Real Madrid (3-3 After Extra Time), Penalty Shootout

Man City vs Real Madrid Betting Tip – Draw Odds:


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