Manchester City and Atletico Madrid will face off in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Premier League champions Manchester City will travel to Spain to face Atletico Madrid in a crucial UEFA Champions League encounter. A spot in the semi-finals awaits, with just a goal separating the two sides, which sets up for an enthralling encounter.
Atletico Madrid come into the all-important second leg on the back of a 1-0 defeat against relegation-battlers Mallorca. They surrendered the opportunity to climb up to second in the table as Mallorca completed a double over Los Rojiblancos.
Manchester City, on the other hand, had a huge encounter this weekend as they faced Liverpool in a potential Premier League title decider. At the end of it all, the Cityzens preserved their one-point lead at the top of the table with the match finishing 2-2. With seven matches now left in the Premier League season, Guardiola’s men have a great opportunity to successfully defend their title.
While City are pursuing a possible treble, Atletico’s only chance to win the silverware comes through the Champions League. Simeone has led the club to two Champions League finals previously, and that experience could come in handy against City.
Team News & Tactics
Big game ahead 👀 pic.twitter.com/kONo7PudIc
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) April 12, 2022
Diego Simeone employed an ultra-defensive approach against Manchester City in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium. While he was heavily criticised, the tactics nearly worked wonders. Pep Guardiola’s men were kept at bay for 70 minutes before Kevin De Bruyne broke the deadlock.
Atletico, surprisingly, took no shots on goal in the match and enjoyed just 29% possession. They could employ a similar tactic in the second leg as well, but they won’t be able to persist with it for long as they need at least one goal to stay alive in the tie. With no away-goal rule in the Champions League anymore, if the Rojiblancos win the second leg by one goal, the match will go into extra time.
Simeone will have the services of Yannick Carrasco, who has now served his one-match suspension. The Argentine tactician will, however, continue to be without Hector Herrera and Jose Gimenez.
Stefan Savic, Felipe and Reinildo Mandava are expected to form the three-man backline while Marcos Llorente and Carrasco operate as the wing-backs. Geoffrey Kondogbia and Koke will hold the fort in the middle of the park for the hosts while Rodrigo De Paul will look to drive the team forward. Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix will combine up top for the Spanish champions.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Mandava; Llorente, De Paul, Kondogbia, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann, Felix
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City continue to be the juggernaut that they are. They are expected to dominate proceedings at the Wanda Metropolitano, enjoying the major share of possession as Atletico will look to hit them on the counter.
The Cityzens were a far better side in the first half against Liverpool in their recent Premier League match, which showed how they can dominate even the best of teams in Europe. Even with just a one-goal lead and an away match in Madrid awaiting, City will go into the encounter as the favourites.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 12, 2022
Guardiola will welcome back Kyle Walker from suspension for the encounter. But Ruben Dias continues to be a long-term absentee along with Cole Palmer. In the Portuguese’s absence, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have been handling the central defensive duties. Joao Cancelo and Walker will continue as the full-backs.
There could be one change in midfield, with Ilkay Gundogan replacing Bernardo Silva while Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne hold their places. Riyad Mahrez should get a look-in as well, with Gabriel Jesus making way. Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden will complete the frontline for City.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Moraes; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
- Manchester City and Atletico Madrid have met just once previously – the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie. The Premier League side emerged 1-0 winners.
- Manchester City have kept clean sheets in all of their last three Champions League encounters.
- Atletico Madrid’s recent matches in the Champions League haven’t seen a lot of goals scored. Less than 2.5 goals per match have been scored in five of their last six matches in the competition.
- The last time Manchester City visited Madrid, they emerged 2-1 winners against Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
- Atletico Madrid are winless in their last seven home games in the UEFA Champions League (D4 L3).
Player to Watch
Kevin De Bruyne
Undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the game currently, Kevin De Bruyne will be the player to watch out for in the second leg between the two European heavyweights. The Belgian broke the deadlock when all seemed lost for Manchester City in the first leg as Atletico Madrid were defending deep.
He followed it up with another fine performance in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool. Expect De Bruyne to dominate proceedings for City. Simeone’s men will have a tough task at their hand to contain him on Wednesday night.
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Manchester City
Atletico Madrid are the most dangerous when they are expected to be down and out. Thus they could come into the encounter with a much different approach than the first leg. Expect them to score at least one goal. However, Manchester City are too good to miss out and could score twice to seal a spot for themselves in the semi-finals.