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Fernandinho, Gundogan recalled for Real Madrid clash

Fernandinho, Gundogan recalled for Real Madrid clash
After much speculation over which starting XI Pep Guardiola would go with for this game, finally, the team for tonight has been confirmed.

The boss makes two changes from the side that beat Norwich City 5-0 in the final Premier League game of the season.

In come Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho with David Silva and Eric Garcia making way.

It’s predominantly an experienced line-up, with plenty of options on the subs bench.

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City line-up:

Ederson, Walker, Cancelo, Fernandinho (c), Laporte, Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Foden, Sterling, Jesus

Subs: Bravo, Stones, Zinchenko, Bernardo, Silva, Mahrez, Otamendi, Garcia, Doyle, Harwood-Bellis, Palmer, Bernabe

Real Madrid XI:

Courtois, Carvajal, F Mendy, Militao, Varane, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Hazard,  Benzema, Rodrygo

Subs: Areola, Nacho, Marcelo, Valverde, Vázquez, Jovic, Asensio, Díaz, Isco, Vinícius Júnior, ltube, Hernández

Formation and possible tactics:

City played with a false nine at the Bernabeu and could do the same here again.

If so, expect Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to alternate and move from central areas to the flanks.

Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne will look to unpick the Madrid defence, hit by the loss of suspended skipper Sergio Ramos.

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Ilkay Gundogan and Rodrigo are likely to build a solid shield in front of the defence, with Guardiola preferring the experience of Fernandinho over Eric Garcia.

Joao Cancelo has impressed in recent weeks and he will continue at left-back.

Advantage City

Two away goals and an aggregate lead is a strong position to be in for City, but Real Madrid will fancy their chances of turning the tie around.

City have the advantage of knowing that even a 0-1 home loss would not be enough for Madrid to progress, but that will be the last thing on the players’ minds.

The Spaniards would need to win by two clear goals to progress and a 2-1 scoreline for the Spaniards after 90 minutes would mean extra time.

If there were to be no further scoring in the additional 30 minutes, a penalty shoot-out would ensue.

Depending how the game goes, the longer City hold an aggregate lead, the more chances Real Madrid will need to take.

There are so many possible ways the game could pan out and if there is one goal in it either, it could be a thrilling last 20 minutes or so.

Laporte’s mission

It would be wrong to say that if City can keep Karim Benzema quiet this evening, there’s every chance City will win.

Real Madrid have quality all over the pitch – but one thing the La Liga champions have lacked this season is goals.

Only Benzema – with 26 goals - has hit double figures in the team that starts tonight with the influential warrior Sergio Ramos next with 13 suspended.

So, if Laporte can marshal Benzema, any Madrid goals will need to come from elsewhere.

This Real Madrid side is not in the mould of the great Galácticos of the past, but they are well drilled and have a wealth of experience in this competition.

It should be a fascinating duel.

Stats, facts and milestones...

  • Raheem Sterling needs one goal for 100 in all competitions for City.
  • If City fail to progress, this game will be David Silva’s last for the Club.
  • City have scored 32 goals in their last 11 UEFA Champions League matches; since losing at home to Lyon on Matchday 1 last season (1-2) their record is W12 D3 L1 with 47 goals scored and 15 conceded.
  • This is the seventh consecutive time we have reached the last 16.
  • We have won our last two home matches in the UEFA Champions League knockout phase – and three of the last five (L2) – but overall have won only four of our ten knockout matches in the competition in Manchester (D2 L4).
  • In the round of 16, our home record is W2 D1 L3.
  • Our record against Spanish clubs in two-legged knockout ties is W1 L4, with defeats in each of the last four.
  • Our last home game against a Spanish club brought a 3-1 defeat of Barcelona in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage. Our home record against Spanish sides is W4 D3 L2, both defeats coming against Barcelona.
  • Under Pep we have won 13 of our last 22 European matches, home and away, losing six.
  • City have never failed to win a European tie after an away first-leg victory. There have been ten such contests
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