Real Madrid and Manchester City are obsessed with attack
Know about Real Madrid
- Madrid already had a 4-3 defeat in the Champions League playoffs in Manchester City. In the 2003 quarterfinals, a hat-trick by the great Ronaldo answered the scoring by MJ. But Ferguson flew out and Del Bosque moved on, as the hosts won the first leg in Madrid 3-1 thanks to a Figo goal and a Raul double. Then Real Madrid crashed out in the semifinals against Juventus, who in turn would lose in the final to Didi and Shevchenko. But those 4-3’s are classics of the Champions League, as are the new ones performed by Guardiola’s and Ancelotti’s teams.
- Over the weekend, Real Madrid won the Spanish championship, celebrating their 35th trophy. Ancelotti won all the top five leagues for the first time in history. An emotionally important win, because you have to bounce back against the APL leader and one of the most formidable teams of the last five years. Madrid’s self-confidence is not lacking, but celebrating the championship reset. Fans will remember Marcelo riding the goddess of fertility, whose sculpture adorns the Cibeles fountain. And they won’t forget Alaba, shaking his chair, which has become one of the symbols of the way of the “cream” in the season.
- In addition to Azar, whose injuries have become a routine accompaniment, Alaba is also out. On the one hand, a serious loss – the Austrian is the strongest rated defender in the squad, he has tremendous experience at Bayern. On the other hand, David also made mistakes, it is difficult for him to be the leader of the defense. Nacho, of course, is lower level, but he is a fighter. He plays professional soccer with diabetes, and appreciates every opportunity to get on the field. Yes, and Militao is not always in Maguire mode.
- Courtois could be important on Real Madrid’s path to the Champions League final in Paris. Thibaut has saved the team all season in La Liga and helped them out in Europe. Semifinals, where you need to score one goal, but there is no away goal rule, often depend on the actions of the goalkeeper. Yesterday, Villarreal could not rely on the goalkeeper. And now the other Spanish team is directly dependent on both the physical readiness of their older midfielders and Courtois’ willingness to work miracles.
- Ancelotti is unlikely to get wise, this is a trademark of Guardiola – Josep backed himself into a corner by inventing overly complicated algorithms when simple ones could have worked. Expect a 4-3-3 scheme from Real Madrid. Valverde will have a transitional role, as Vinicius and Benzema have long understood each other. A constructive transition to a 4-4-2 – depending on the height of Manchester City’s pressing – will not be a revelation. But comprehensibility does not prevent Real Madrid from being dangerous. One Modrić pass, one Benzema opening – that’s it, the English no longer have an advantage on the sum of two matches, we have to start again.
Know about Manchester City
- Guardiola planned to reach peak form in May, so they threw three goals to Brighton, five to Watford, then scored four times each against both Real Madrid and Leeds, only in the latter they did not concede. The Citizens have switched on the mode of destroying the defense of any opponent. It’s not about what the opponent does, but what Manchester City do. The intensity of attacks is impressive, as is their number.
- Against Leeds, the APL leaders tried a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Jesus as the striker and Rodri and Gündogan closing down the defensive zone. Perhaps these are “mind games” for Real’s analysts to rack their brains. But this approach will come in handy, because in Madrid Manchester City will be partly in the wrong business of defending the result of the first game. “Chelsea and PSG have seen how difficult it is to get the right score in Spain, the Citizens do not want to repeat their mistakes.
- Understandably, Guardiola changed his attacking plans after learning that Nacho and Militao would be defending Courtois. But the more interesting is Manchester City’s tactical pattern in attack. There’s Grealish, Foden, Sterling, Marez and Bernardo. And since De Bruyne has been given a rest, we may see the traditional 4-3-3 as well as a switch to playing with Kevin as the classic “ten” and with Foden or Jesus at the spearhead. There are many options, as MS and controlled chaos are brothers.
- Today, unlike in the previous game, Guardiola’s main laterals, Walker and Cancelou, will play from the opening minutes. An important factor, because Mendy and Carvajal will not be able to work much in attack in this case, we will see gaps between the tight lines and tactical meridians of Real. Dias and LaPorte are ready to defend Ederson, and will try to do better than they did in Manchester City. It is also highly likely that Guardiola will insure the supporting area – perhaps Bernardo Silva has more defensive challenges.
- What are Manchester City’s weaknesses? Probably psychology. In the first game they could have stopped at 2-0 and then rolled the third and went on the road with a smash in the pocket. But you can see that there are players on the pitch who are afraid to make a mistake. Real have a different approach, a holy belief that any number of mistakes can be won back. Even in Manchester, when they were 2-0 up by the eleventh minute, they could have broken down. But not our temperament – we shrank the gap to the last minute. If it was not for the cunning Bernardo, in Madrid today the teams would have started with a 3-3 draw. Now, after a crazy first leg, Manchester City are happy with a draw, but Guadriola will not bet on it – too obvious a route to defeat.
Know your opponents
- In 11 of their last 12 matches, Real Madrid have scored at least two goals. On eight occasions it was a matter of 3-4 goals. Benzema is obsessed with goals, scoring more than 40 for the first time in his career, but it’s hard to call Ancelotti’s entire team dull and defensive. They can be clamped down on their goals, as in Paris, but even Asensio, although Marco is often on the bench, has 10 goals in La Liga. Rodrigo had an assist in the LF, three assists for Mendy. It is clear that the emphasis is on Benzema’s 14 goals, but the entire squad lives on counterattacks and creating chances.
- The attacking elements of the two sides will collide today. “Manchester City are more likely to score between three and five goals. Guardiola’s tactics imply constant pressure. And zero draws against Atlético de Madrid and Sporting have been the side effects of poor implementation. Which did not prevent them from qualifying further in the Champions League and, in parallel, hurting everyone but Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals. Guardiola was inferior to Conte and Klopp.
- In the final, the winner of the pair will be waiting for another team crazy in attack. “Liverpool set the club record for goals in a season. Of course, when in the Champions League most people expect a lot of goals and do not know in whose favor it will turn out, we may even see the score 0-0, or 1-0 with the transition to overtime, if “Real” is ready physically and mentally, and “Manchester City” is covered with the complex of championship inferiority, formed by former defeats in the Champions League. But let’s believe in the best. We want to see a show in this encounter, where the opponents, who passed each other once in the playoffs of the Champions League, meet.