Manchester City face European giants, Real Madrid, in, arguably, the biggest game in the club’s history to date tonight.
For years the Blue half of Manchester cowered in the shade of their illustrious neighbours but now find themselves a possible 180 minutes away from Champions League glory.
Can they do it? Well the simple answer is yes, yes they can. Whilst Manuel Pellegrini’s side have struggled for consistency all season they have excelled in European football’s premier competition.
They’ve lost just twice this campaign – both times to a very strong Juventus side – and just the once at the Etihad.
With Sergio Aguero firing on all cylinders and the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne – in tandem with David Silva and, possibly, Raheem Sterling – causing havoc between the lines of the Madrid midfield and defence, City must be in with a chance of scoring at least once.
Can they keep Madrid out, though? Vincent Kompany is expected back and that can only be a positive, but the real blessing in disguise is the absence of Yaya Toure.
The big Ivorian can be a liability in these big games and with Fernando and Fernandinho marshalling the midfield superbly against PSG in the previous round, they’ll be needed against the star studded attacking talent of Los Galaticos.
A further boost for City is the news that both Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are serious doubts for tonight’s game. The latter missed Saturday’s 3-2 over Rayo Vallecano whilst the former – Benzema – limped off in the first half.
Ronaldo will surely play, but surely can’t be at 100% fitness. Will Benzema be risked ahead of a pivotal 2nd leg? It’s doubtful.
Madrid’s best work generally comes at home at the Santiago Bernabeu, characterised by a poor display in their 2-0 defeat in the last round against Wolfsburg.
All the signs point towards a Man City victory later this evening and at 2/1Add to betslip there’s value to be had in that price.
If all three of the B-B-C play, you’d have to fancy Real finding the net at least once so backing goals here in both Over 2.5 (4/6Add to betslip) and Both Teams To Score (8/15Add to betslip) are worth plays for the big punters.
For those who enjoy a speculative punt, the 7/1Add to betslip on Man City to be leading inside 10 minutes looks a tempting wager with a fast and furious start expected.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.