Manchester City host Real Madrid at the Etihad for their 2nd leg of the Round of 16 fixture of the Champions League.
It would be reasonable to state that it has not exactly been the season that Manchester City would have been seeking after. To be sure, notwithstanding surrendering the Premier League trophy to Liverpool, Guardiola’s side endured a 2-0 annihilation to Arsenal in the semis of the FA Cup as they shockingly crashed out. However, they lifted the EFL Cup after registering a 2-1 win over Aston Villa back in March. Despite that, this season would go down as a poor campaign if that was the only trophy they managed to win this season. They have a strong team and have a good chance of winning the Champions League this season.
Real Madrid, on the other side, have had a successful La Liga campaign and have also won the Spanish Super Cup earlier this year. After the lockdown, they managed to overtake Barcelona and maintained a five points lead in the league. They won ten consecutive games before drawing against Leganes. They finished second in the group stages behind PSG with 11 points from six games and will be looking to book a place in the quarter-finals of the competition with a comeback.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the combined XI of both teams ahead of tomorrow game. The formation is a bit weird and unbalanced 4-2-3-1, but the intention was to pick players who have been very impressive for their sides so far.
Thibaut Courtois is our preferred choice for the goalkeeping spot over Ederson. The Belgian shot-stopper has two clean sheets to his name this season in the UCL and has started six games for Los Blancos. He also averages 2.5 saves per game in the competition.
Real Madrid have better full-backs than Manchester City this season. We have picked Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy over City’s fullbacks. Both have been phenomenal this season under Zidane and helped the team claim La Liga.
For the two centre-back positions, we pick Aymeric Laporte and Raphael Varane. Varane has been one of the best defenders in the world this season and has often been overshadowed by Ramos’ performances. Laporte is by far the best defender City have got and his absence due to injury has been one of the prime reasons for the club’s defensive struggles throughout the season.
Casemiro takes up the role of the ‘number 6’ in our combined XI. He has arguably been the best defensive midfielder in the world this season. Rodri has been a decent signing for City but Casemiro trumps him this season. Ilkay Gundogan is our choice for the second pivot in our two-pivot formation.
Kevin De Bruyne takes up the role in the attacking midfield. De Bruyne has been one of the best players in the world this season has been phenomenal with his contributions through assists.
Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling take the wide midfield roles in our lineup. Sterling has been among the top scorers in the Premier League last season with 20 goals. Mahrez has now cemented his place in the starting lineup and has been one of the most consistent players for Pep Guardiola’s side this season. There’s no doubt that City’s wingers have been better than Real Madrid’s wingers.
Who else? Karim Benzema takes the number 9 role in our combined XI. He has four goals and two assists this season in the Champions League and will lead Real Madrid’s attack tomorrow.