CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The Ultra previews Tuesday’s first Champions League semi-final between MAN CITY v REAL MADRID including a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.
MANCHESTER CITY V REAL MADRID
8pm The Champions League Semi-Finals are here and we have a huge week ahead. We start the action on BETDAQ Betting Exchange with a blockbuster fixture too! Everyone will be expecting Liverpool to come through the other Semi-Final against Villarreal – although don’t write off Villarreal after they knocked out Juventus and Bayern Munich! This is the tie that everyone will be interested in, and you have to say it’s a fascinating tie ahead! So many questions to answer.
Real Madrid made heavy work of beating Chelsea in the second leg of their Quarter-Final. It looked like they had the tie wrapped up after a 3-1 win in the first leg and then they had home advantage in the second leg but needed extra time after losing 3-1! Real have definitely conceded more goals and been more sloppy at the back this season compared to Manchester City, and that could be the difference here. It’s easy to understand why Manchester City are the clear favourites, but you just feel we’re going to see a tonne of drama in this tie over the two legs.
Real Madrid aren’t afraid of having an open game, especially when they are at home, and I feel that’s when we’ll see all the drama. They surprised me a little with their performance in the first leg at Chelsea because they were so negative away to PSG. With the away goal rule gone, it doesn’t really benefit sides to be very open in the first leg now away from home. It’s best to just accept a draw and do battle in the second leg, whether it’s 0-0 or 1-1. From that point of view, we could see a pretty quiet game here. I expect Real to try to sit back as much as possible, City will have to make the running and they’ll see a lot of the ball here.
Both sides recorded nice wins at the weekend with City hammering Watford 5-1 and Real beating Osasuna 3-1. Real were actually very impressive in their game as they created an xG of 5.14. It’s been a while since they put in that type of performance. I feel City are priced very fairly here at 1.5 – they have been superb this season and deserve to be favourites. It’s hard to make a case that they should be shorter, and I strongly feel Real will set out to defend here. A 1-0 loss wouldn’t be a bad result for Real, but as we saw with Atletico Madrid in the Quarter-Finals of the last round – beating City even with home advantage it’s easier said than done.
I don’t see much value in the match odds market here, but I am interesting the goals market. Although we have a huge amount of attacking talent on display here, I still expect a cagey affair. City really didn’t open up in the Quarter-Final at any stage against Atletico Madrid. They controlled both games, and grinded out a win. I feel we’ll see the same tactics from Guardiola here, and the first leg also suits Real to keep this one as quiet as possible. I can see it kicking off in the second leg, but under 2.5 goals is a nice bet here at 2.28. I know we might get something like a 3-3 if both teams go for it early – we have the talent on the pitch to do that – so I’m going to keep stakes reasonably low because of that worry, but I do expect a cagey game here and unders is definitely worth a small play at the odds.
The Ultra Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 2.28 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.
You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/MciRma
● This will be the seventh meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid in European competition, with each of the previous six coming in the UEFA Champions League since 2012-13. After failing to win the first four (D2 L2), the Citizens won both legs in the Round of 16 against them in this competition in 2019-20.
● Real Madrid haven’t won any of their previous three trips to face Manchester City in European competition (D2 L1), with the most recent two also coming in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League – 0-0 in the 2015-16 semi-final first leg and 1-2 in the 2019-20 Round of 16 second leg.
● Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has eliminated Real Madrid from the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League on two previous occasions, beating them 3-1 on aggregate in the 2010-11 semi-finals with Barcelona and 4-2 on aggregate in the 2019-20 Round of 16 with Manchester City. Guardiola is looking to become the first manager to eliminate Real Madrid from the UEFA Champions League on three occasions.
● Real Madrid have only won one of their last six away games against English teams in the UEFA Champions League (D2 L3), although that victory did come against Chelsea earlier this month. No team has ever beaten two different English sides away from home in the knockout stages in a single UEFA Champions League campaign.
● Pep Guardiola (four wins) and Carlo Ancelotti (two wins) have faced each other on six previous occasions as opposing managers – all four of Guardiola’s wins came against Ancelotti’s Everton in the Premier League, while the Italian’s two victories came in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2013-14, with his Real Madrid side beating Bayern Munich 5-0 on aggregate.
● Carlo Ancelotti has won 74% of his games in charge of Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League (26/35), the best win percentage for any manager with at least 20 games for a single club in the competition.
● Raheem Sterling has netted 24 goals for Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League. If he scores in this game, he would overtake Paul Scholes (24) and trail only Wayne Rooney (30) for the most goals scored by an English player for an English team in the competition’s history.
● Karim Benzema has scored 12 goals in nine appearances for Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League this season, including a hat-trick in his previous trip to England earlier in the month (v Chelsea at Stamford Bridge). Only one player has netted more away goals against English sides in a single UEFA Champions League campaign, with Serge Gnabry netting six for Bayern Munich in 2019-20 (four v Spurs, two v Chelsea).
● Only Kingsley Coman (4.1) has a higher expected assists (xA) total than Manchester City’s João Cancelo (3.6 xA) in the UEFA Champions League in 2021-22, indicating the quality of chances created by the Portuguese this season. The third-ranked player for expected assists this season, meanwhile, is Real Madrid’s Vinícius Júnior (3.4 xA).
● Real Madrid winger Vinícius Júnior has made more progressive carries of 10+ meters than any other player in the UEFA Champions League this season (62), while no player has generated more shots following a carry (moving 5+ meters with the ball) than the Brazilian in this season’s competition (21 – 10 shots, 11 chances created).