On Friday, Manchester City hosts Real Madrid with a 2-1 lead on aggregate. Real Madrid recently won La Liga and were undefeated after the restart. They look like the better team but will not have Sergio Ramos because he got a red card in the 1st leg back at the Santiago Bernabeu. It should be interesting to see how both teams come out at the start of the game.
It definitely has been a roller-coaster season for Manchester City with some great wins and inexcusable losses. What will decide this is Manchester City’s shaky defence can hold off Madrid. Even if Benjamin Mendy is benched this game it is still a concern. Manchester City needs at least 2 or 3 goals to win this game. Real Madrid is just playing at a really high level I cannot see them struggling to score goals. With scoring being a necessity Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez need to take advantage of the opportunities Kevin De Bruyne will create. Jesus is the most inconsistent of the three. We will see how significant the loss of Sergio Aguero is. Throughout the season even without the defence being bad the offence has looked lost. For example the 1-0 lost to Southampton, 2-0 loss to Tottenham, 1-0 loss to Manchester United and 2-0 loss to Arsenal. Could it be because catching Liverpool was out of sight or just bored? We will find out on Friday.
Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois have been Real Madrid’s best players since the restart of La Liga. The loss of Sergio Ramos will hurt because he scored some important goals in their journey to winning La Liga. How much will Real Madrid benefit from VAR? Even since the restart VAR has benefited them tremendously. Some of the decisions have been controversial. Manchester City defenders will make mistakes and Real Madrid has to exploit that. Benzema is the leading scorer in this game edging Sterling 21 to 20. I would give the goalkeeper edge to Courtois because he has been more consistent than Enderson. Also, he has not suffered defeat since the restart. One concern is maybe who else is going to score besides Benzema. Fortunately for Madrid Manchester City has had defensive issues all season. Some examples are their 3-2 loss to Wolves, 3-1 loss to Liverpool and 3-2 loss to Norwich City. Enderson has made more errors this season than previous seasons. I give the manager edge to Zinedine Zidane because he has made adjustments throughout the season and won a league title. Pep Guardiola has had a down season by his standards. He didn’t make defensive adjustments and just waited until the season ended to upgrade defensively. With that said I have this game being a 2-2 draw and Manchester City advancing.