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Five key stats ahead of Manchester City vs Real Madrid

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid will play their biggest match of the 2022/23 campaign till date when they take on Manchester City in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals later tonight at the Etihad Stadium.

The first leg, played at the Santiago Bernabeu last week, ended in a closely-contested 1-1 draw with goals coming from Vinicius Jr and Kevin De Bruyne.

It sets up for an exciting match-up tonight at the Etihad with both teams entering into the game on level terms.

However, as we head into the game, Pep Guardiola’s troops might have an edge playing at their home ground, where they have been exceptional this season.

Indeed, Manchester City have played 14 home games in 2023 across all competitions and won each of them, scoring 49 goals and conceding just seven. In fact, they have not lost a game on home turf since a defeat to Brentford in November 2022.

Furthermore, Man City’s last home defeat in the Champions League was all the way back in September 2018, when they were beaten 2-1 by Lyon, meaning they have gone nearly five years without losing at home in the competition. They have played 25 times at the Etihad since then and won 23.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid have never won any of their games at the Etihad Stadium, while they have not reached the UCL finals when the semi-final first leg at home ended in a draw.

So, the odds are certainly stacked against Carlo Ancelotti & co. ahead of the match. However, what works in Real Madrid’s favour is the fact that their captain Karim Benzema has a solid record at the Etihad Stadium.

The 35-year-old superstar has scored four goals in four visits to Manchester City’s home turf in the UEFA Champions League, with three of those strikes coming in his last two trips.

Another factor that could swing things in favour of the reigning European champions is the form that star forward Vinicius Jr is in currently.

The Brazilian has directly contributed towards a goal in each of his last 11 starts in the Champions League. Should he score or assist tonight, he would become the first player to contribute to a goal in 12 consecutive starts in the competition.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pat Grey

    May 17, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Benzema is no longer the strong and sharp forward and scorer he has been in the last three years or so. He gets easily tired these days and loses the ball quite often. He might be held at bay today by the solid Man City defense. If Vinivius plays a less selfish game and refrain from holding on to the ball and dribbling longer than is often needed, he might help Benzema in front of goal.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid youngster to have a more prominent role next season – report

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

In a recent report by Manu de Juan in AS, it has been revealed that Arda Guler is expected to play a significant role for Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid next season, despite ongoing rumours connecting him to Liverpool

Currently, Carlo Ancelotti has five key players listed on the club’s official website: Kylian Mbappe, Vinícius Jr, Rodrygo, Brahim Diaz, and Endrick. However, Guler is an additional player who is likely to make a substantial impact next season.

In fact, it is said that the Turkish teenager is set to be Ancelotti’s versatile player for the 2024-25 season. His adaptability is a major asset as he can play in various positions, including as a central or attacking midfielder, a right winger, or even as a forward. 

His recent performance in the European Championship highlighted his capabilities, where he scored one of the tournament’s standout goals. This versatility makes him a valuable addition to the squad.

Ancelotti has clear plans for Guler

Ancelotti has indicated in the past that he sees Guler’s primary role as a forward. However, the coach is not hesitant to use him in a midfield role when needed. 

Arda Guler will have more prominence next season at Real Madrid. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

This flexibility will be crucial, especially with changes in the team’s lineup. With Toni Kroos having left and Aurelien Tchouameni expected to play more as a centre-back, there will be a need for additional midfield options.

Despite his potential, there are concerns about Guler’s physicality and his ability to cover extensive ground on the field. Ancelotti has acknowledged these limitations, noting that Guler needs to improve his defensive positioning and overall physical endurance. 

The coach has mentioned that Guler is already working on these areas, aiming to overcome these challenges.

Meanwhile, during one of the celebrations at Cibeles, Ancelotti hinted at Guler’s increased involvement in the upcoming season. He described Guler as a “very interesting boy,” suggesting that the young player will have more opportunities to showcase his skills. 

This implies that fans can expect to see a lot more of Guler in action, making him a player to watch closely in the next season.

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