This weekend sees the UEFA Champions League returns from lockdown as Manchester City host Real Madrid at the Etihad in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie.
Man City know that anything other than defeat would see them through, although a 1-0 loss could see them progress on the away goals rule.
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Man City have no fresh injury concerns to report as Claudio Bravo and Sergio Aguero remain absent with respective muscle and knee injuries.
Real Madrid will be without Gareth Bale after Zinedine Zidane opted to leave the Welsh midfielder out of Real’s travelling squad.
Mariano Diaz (illness) and Sergio Ramos (suspension) also miss out for the new La Liga champions.
- Manchester City are winless in two previous home clashes against Real Madrid (D2), drawing 1-1 in November 2012 then 0-0 in April 2016.
- Real Madrid have won each of their last four away UEFA knockout ties, although those victories came in first legs, with Real progressing overall on aggregate on three of those four occasions.
- City have progressed from just two of their last four Champions League knockout ties in which they were at home in second leg, of which both came at this stage against Basel and Schalke in each of last two seasons respectively.
- Just two of Real Madrid’s 15 Champions League goals this season have come from a defender, of which both goals came from Ramos albeit at home rather than away.
- Gabriel Jesus has scored four goals in his last two Champions League appearances for City, albeit away to Dinamo Zagreb in final group match then at Real in first leg.
With a slender lead from the first leg, Man City simply have to turn up and be as clinical as they have been in recent league games because if they turn out a sloppy performance akin to what we saw in FA Cup semi against Arsenal then Real Madrid will punish them.
Real however have been unbeaten post lockdown unlike City so will provide tough opposition for City, of who have lost just three home games this season in all competitions despite scoring in 25 of their 26 such matches at the Etihad.
I therefore am expecting goals but if City can convert their recent league form into a strong Champions League performance, I do reckon that they could progress.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Real Madrid
Result: Manchester City 2-1 Real Madrid (Manchester City win 4-2 on aggregate)