Real Madrid’s visit to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium for the return leg of the Champions League’s Round of 16 will not be an easy one. Los Blancos gained momentum and confidence after conquering their 34th Liga title, but their 1-2 loss at the Bernabeu in the first leg played before the quarantine is an extremely difficult result to overcome.
Even more so, they will be without Sergio Ramos, while Manchester City will be without Sergio Aguero —injured— and Benjamin Mendy —suspended—.
Real Madrid predicted XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Varane, Mendy, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Hazard, Benzema.
Manchester City predicted XI: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus.
Reports from the Spanish press have suggested that Hazard is feeling some kind of discomfort on his ankle, but it would be extremely surprising to see him not making the starting lineup. Other than that, Valverde, Isco and Asensio are three players fighting for the other spot in the lineup, depending on what coach Zidane decides to do with the team’s formation.
If Isco starts, that would give Zidane the option to play with a 4-4-2 diamond with the Spanish midfielder behind Hazard and Benzema. Isco’s versatility would also allow Zidane to deploy a 4-3-3 with him on the right wing, although Asensio would be more suited for that spot. Finally, if Zidane wants to press higher up the pitch and offer more defensive coverage through a regular 4-4-2, Valverde will be the one chosen.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Time: 21:00 CET (local time), 03:00pm EST.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, United Kingdom.
Available TV: TUDN (USA), Movistar La Liga (Spain)
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