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How Real Madrid drew inspiration from Arsenal to plot Man City’s downfall

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Photo by MICHAELA STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid secured a berth in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a hard-fought victory over Manchester City.

Defensive solidity was a standout feature of Real Madrid’s performance on the night, with Los Blancos expertly containing the Man City attackers, including Erling Haaland.

While Man City still managed nine shots on target, it was the quality of shots that was kept a bare minimum thanks to some brilliant defending from Real Madrid.

To put things into perspective, Man City managed nine shots on target after attempting a whopping 33 shots on goal, which is indicative of Real Madrid’s qualitative defending on the night.

Real Madrid took a page out of Arteta’s book

Following Real Madrid’s victory, MARCA has come up with a report stating that the Spanish giants had taken a page out of Mikel Arteta’s book for their success over Man City.

The report suggests Real Madrid took inspiration from Arteta’s playbook two weeks ago when Arsenal drew with Manchester City.

Ancelotti and co studied the Arsenal defence in great detail (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Heading into the game, Real Madrid’s coaching staff, including Davide Ancelotti studied the Arsenal defence with great detail. This served as a great reference for the Real Madrid defence last night.

Sure enough, Los Blancos employed a similar strategy with two well-knit defensive lines, wide players interchanging positions and more defensive participation from the attackers.

The strategy paid off as well, with Real Madrid essentially nullifying Manchester City’s possession-play and limiting them to only a limited number of quality opportunities in front of goal.

The report adds that Davide Ancelotti was the main architect behind this defensive gameplan, with approval from Carlo Ancelotti.

And as Real Madrid prepare for the semifinal against Bayern, one can expect the Men in Whites to once again kickstart their research on the German giants, who have had a rather disappointing campaign this season.

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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