There are several interesting ties in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, but the most anticipated among them is between Real Madrid and Manchester City. Both clubs have underperformed at times this season and the UCL is their best chance to please the fans.
I don’t think any of the teams likes the draw, but the neutrals will be delighted to watch two of the top sides in Europe clash.
If you need some help picking the best wagers for this game, you’ve come to the right place. This betting preview explores both clubs and ends with a prediction for the first leg of the encounter between Real Madrid and Manchester City.
The season was going well for Real Madrid since the start of 2020. The team showed some consistency in the league and earned the top spot in the Spanish La Liga. The attack was finally working and Zinedine Zidane had some room to breathe.
That’s when February came and the situation quickly changed. Since the start of the month, Real Madrid was knocked out from Copa del Rey and lost the first place in Primera Division after a 1-0 defeat against Levante on Saturday.
One could probably understand that if Zidane had rested some of his main players, but that wasn’t the case. It was a strong lineup that failed to deliver.
The French head coach will be hoping for an improved performance today. Real Madrid still has a strong defense and the players to hurt Manchester City on the other end. Considering the team’s performance in Europe under Zidane, I expect the side to play much better.
The main problems of Manchester City this season have been related to the defense. Aymeric Laporte’s injury in the early stages of the campaign resulted in a lot of trouble for Pep Guardiola. The Spanish manager failed to find a good pairing at the heart of the defense in his absence.
The good news is that Laporte is back on the pitch and it’s no coincidence that Man City recorded two straight clean sheets. The Frenchman is one of the most important players of the team.
He was substituted early in the game against Leicester on the weekend, but Guardiola insisted that Laporte will start today in his post-match interview.
We should see the central defender from the first minute and I think this changes the whole gameplan of the manager. He will be able to rely on his defense more and that’s what he usually does in tough trips in the Champions League.
I expect City to try and control the game, keep a clean sheet and get a decent result before the return leg.
Prediction and Betting Pick
Most people expect to see goals in this one, but I’m on the opposite opinion. I believe that both sides will approach the game carefully and try not to get knocked out before the second leg.
Real Madrid has the best defense in Spain, while Manchester City will count on Laporte and Guardiola has been conservative in similar situations before.
It should be a cagey affair and the odds of 2.00 for under 2.5 goals seem too good to miss, so that’s my final betting pick.