Manchester City will lock horns with Atletico Madrid at the Etihad on Tuesday night in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie.
Diego Simeone’s men beat Manchester United 2-1 on aggregate to progress to the quarter-finals. The first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano ended 1-1. Manchester United were all over Atletico Madrid in the second leg at Old Trafford but it was Rojiblancos who put away a golden chance to secure the lead.
A simple header from an unlikely source in Renan Lodi was all that was required for Atletico to make it through to the last eight, with Simeone immediately dashing down the tunnel at the full-time whistle and being pelted by objects from the crowd for his troubles.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s men made quick work of Sporting Lisbon, thrashing them 5-0 on aggregate to qualify for the quarter-finals. City ran riot at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in the first leg and put five past a rattled Sporting side.
The tie was already done and dusted as the Portuguese outfit came to the Etihad for the second leg but they managed to escape further embarrassment by earning a 0-0 draw.
Form Guide: Manchester City
Despite all the good form they’ve showcased throughout the season, City are presently holding onto a slender one-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. They fell to second for a brief period ahead of their weekend game against Burnley as Liverpool beat Watford earlier on Saturday.
Supporters certainly got their money’s worth when Man City made the journey to the Estadio Jose Alvalade for the first leg of their last-16 tie with Sporting, as Bernardo Silva (2), Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Raheem Sterling put the tie to bed before it had even begun.
The second leg was a far duller affair by contrast, but City only needed to avoid the most calamitous collapse to edge closer to a coveted Champions League crown, and a goalless draw gave them a safe passage into the last eight of Europe’s elite competition.
Form Guide: Atletico Madrid
At one point this term, it looked like Simeone’s side would face a struggle to return to the Champions League next term. However, their form has turned around and suddenly they look like one of the biggest challengers to runaway leaders Real Madrid.
Atletico have won each of their last six games, a run that includes a victory in Manchester United. The Spanish champions put out the Red Devils in the last 16, with their win at Old Trafford their third victory in four away trips this term.
They are currently on a six-game winning streak and will look to tap into their rich vein of form as they travel to Manchester for the second time in three weeks.
How the match could go
Manchester City’s defense does look a bit vulnerable here but they are likely to make their home advantage count and register a win in the first leg on Tuesday night. Atletico Madrid will be resilient and there won’t be a lot of goals in this game. However, Pep Guardiola’s men can be quite inventive and unrelenting in the final third.
The distraction of Liverpool’s visit to the Etihad in a week cannot creep into the minds of Man City’s XI here, but another mammoth encounter with a somewhat depleted defense is not a cause for optimism.
Under 2.5 Goals
You can say what you want about Diego Simeone and his Atletico Madrid side but they won’t give anyone a freebie. With a second leg still to come Atletico will want to remain in this tie.
As such, we’re betting on a low-scoring match with Atletico likely to resort to the dark arts to minimize the threat of Man City. From a statistical standpoint, City have struggled to blitz teams of late with three of their last five matches going under 2.5 goals. Meanwhile, Atletico have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last nine games. Bet9ja have 2.08, 1xbet have 2.14 and Paripesa have 2.14 odds.
We’ve just touched on the fact we see this match being a tight one and with that, we can’t see both teams finding the net. Three of Man City’s last four have seen at least one side blank in front of goal whilst Atletico have kept two clean sheets in their last three games. Given Atletico’s style of play, they’re unlikely to leave too many gaps defensively, and, at the other end, they’ll be relying on a piece of magic; none of that leads to an end-to-end match. Bet9ja have 1.65 odds, Paripesa have 1.70 and 1xbet have 1.70 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Manchester City)
The Algerian star was possibly rested by Pep just for his inclusion in today’s match-up. It seems like he would be returning to the starting lineup today to terrorize Someone’s defense. He is still the joint top scorer for his club in the PL with 10 goals. He has scored six goals in his last nine games in all competitions and was involved among the goals when they demolished Lisbon 5-0. Bet9ja have 2.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.15.
Kevin De Bruyne
He has been immense for City since his return from injury. He was on the scoreboard as Manchester City saw Burnley off to return top of the table and hold the title by one hand. He has a lot of experience in games like this and today’s game would be no exception as to how incredible we expect him to perform. Consecutive goals in the PL have us choosing him to score today. Bet9ja have 2.90 odds and Paripesa have 2.50 odds for him to score.
Anytime Goalscorer (Atletico Madrid)
The Portuguese youngster has been super in games for Atletico as they have run a riot since they lost woefully to Barcelona. He has been involved in. A brace in their weekend demolition of Alaves saw his stack up to 6 G/A in his last five fixtures. Today, he would be on the starting lineup as he can sure cause trouble for City’s defense. Bet9ja have 4.75 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.00.
Luis Suarez came off the bench to bag a 15-minute brace against Alaves and has given Simeone food for thought in the final third. His experience would count here today if Simeone would want to use someone who already has a great knowledge of Pep’s tactics, from his days playing against him. We have included him here today as he is likely to continue his form from his last game. Bet9ja have 4.55 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.00.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.