What to Expect as Man City Face a Benzema-Inspired Real Madrid at the Etihad

The UEFA Champions League semi-finals is upon us! It is one of those nights when your eyes would be glued to the screen so you don’t miss anything.

Tonight, Manchester City play host to Real Madrid at the Etihad in a mouthwatering contest that would send us raving through the week. Apex Football will be bringing you all the action as it breaks, you know we got you covered.

Manchester City might not have lifted the Champions League trophy ever, but they are making giant strides in every passing season. After making it to the final last season, Pep Guardiola’s men will be absolutely desperate to leave no stone unturned this time around.

Pep Guardiola is aiming for his second final as City boss in quick succession as the Premier League champions desperately chase that elusive first title in the game’s grandest club competition.

Real Madrid, however, are quite the opponents. As Carlo Ancelotti’s side proved against both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, they are capable of pulling big results out of the bag even when largely outplayed. They have won the title for a record 13 times and are on a quest to make it 14.

A fascinating tie awaits as the champions of England and Spain battle for a place in next month’s final in Paris. For either side to come out victorious, there are some key battles that must be won during the tie.

Key Battles

The midfield could decide the outcome of the game. Los Blancos trio of Kroos, Modric and and Casemiro are the best midfield trios in the world. They have creativity, brute, and speed. It was that magnificent pass from Modric to Rodrygo that ended Chelsea’s resurgence at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Of course De Bruyne and Rodri will be running things for the Cityzens but can they outplay the Madrid trio in the center of the park.

Ruben Dias and co would have their hands full with the notorious Karim Benzema. The Frenchman has been outstanding for the Liga giants and he would do everything to push his team to the final.

Vinicius will also cause problems with his consistent marauding runs on the wings. It will take a lot for City’s defenders to contain these attacking threats.

Real Madrid’s defense will also be questioned with the fluid attacking football Pep Guardiola’s men play. Thibaut Courtois has been an immense factor in Real Madrid getting to the semi-finals and he’ll have multiple attacking threats to deal with from City.

Team News

Pep Guardiola will miss his trusted Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo in this fixture, as he will need to serve a one-game suspension after picking up three yellow cards. Besides that, everyone else is likely to be fit and available for this fixture, though Kyle Walker is not 100% match fit at the moment.

However, if Walker does not recover completely before the match, Guardiola will be faced with a big dilemma. A centre-back could be forced to play as a right-back with Oleksandr Zinchenko expected to play as a left-back.

Real Madrid have a few injury concerns, but thankfully for manager Carlo Ancelotti, only fringe players in the likes of Luke Jovic and Mariano Diaz are out of contention at the moment.

Los Blancos will be mainly dependent on their star striker, Karim Benzema. Besides the French goal-machine, the likes of Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde could also cause Manchester City’s backline quite a few problems.

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