Man City predicted XI for Real Madrid Champions League semi-final in Pep Guardiola dilemma
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has the chance to put his previous Champions League failures right with a win over Real Madrid in their first leg visit to Manchester on Tuesday night. After tactical changes which have seen them crash out to Chelsea, Lyon and Tottenham in recent years, fans will be wary about any mistakes he could make that puts their hopes for Europe’s biggest competition in jeopardy. Express Sport takes a look at their predicted XI for the game against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
It would be completely berserk if one of Guardiola’s tactical decisions was to drop the Brazilian for the game against Real.
Emerson has manned the sticks throughout the Premier League season, playing in every game bar a 2-0 home win over Burnley in October.
Further to the cause, Zack Steffen’s huge mistake in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool just over a week ago saw City lose out on a potential treble after he was tackled by Sadio Mane.
With that in mind, it is certain that Ederson will start.
Defence: Walker, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko
City’s defence is the first real conundrum that Guardiola will have on his hands if his side are to progress to the final.
Kyle Walker has been in and out of action for the majority of the season, making just 20 Premier League appearances from a possible 33 – however, with his return likely to come on Tuesday evening, he will be preferred on that side to Joao Cancelo who serves a suspension.
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The Portugal star is much better when he plays on the left-hand side, which could prove difficult for Oleksandr Zinchenko and Nathan Ake in other competitions – but his suspension at Atletico Madrid in the second leg sees him miss out for the Ukrainian.
And John Stones will miss out – leaving Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte to deal with Karim Benzema up front.
Midfield: De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan
Kevin de Bruyne looked to be a serious doubt for Tuesday with the injury against Watford just before superstar Rodri’s goal in the second half.
He will be touch and go for the game, but with City likely to rely on arguably their player of the season, he is expected to come back into the starting lineup.
Alongside him will be Rodri, who has really warmed into the City team this season after a relatively slow first few months in the north west.
And Ilkay Gündoğan will likely be the third man as City will look to dominate the ball.
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Attack: Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
Bernardo Silva will feel extremely aggrieved at not finding a starting spot, but the exploits of City’s front three recently alongside a steeliness in midfield could see him miss out.
Instead, Phil Foden could be recalled to the first team to show the excellence he produced at the Etihad in the last round against Diego Simeone’s men.
Raheem Sterling’s attacking output and pace could give Real nightmares if he plays like he can do, with vast experience on the continental stage.
And Riyad Mahrez’s unpredictability will prove crucial for a side who are likely to be on the front foot.
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