Man City vs Real Madrid Preview, Odds, Predictions (May 17)

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May 17, 2023
May 17, 2023

Initial Thoughts

There’s tough calls and then there’s tough calls. On paper this fixture is all about Man City, but in terms of football storylines this tournament is about Real Madrid.

The Narrative

If you wanted to make an evidence-based case for a team winning a game of football then look no further than Man City beating Real Madrid tonight.

For starters, City’s record at the Etihad has been off the charts this season. Pep’s side have won each of their last 14 home fixtures in all competitions, scoring two or more goals in all but one of those matches.

In the Champions League their home record is even more impressive, with the Blues unbeaten across 25 matches at the Etihad stretching all the way back to the 2017/18 campaign.

On top of that, City come into this fixture on an 11 game hot streak domestically, and riding high on an astonishing run of results that will likely see them wrap up a third consecutive Premiership title on the weekend.

Factor in an FA Cup final against cross town rivals Manchester United, and it’s hard to see how City won't also land a double. And if they arrive in the Champions League final it’s hard to see how Inter Milan could prevent City from securing an historic treble as well.

The problem is: tonight it’s Real Madrid. And Los Blancos don’t care about stats or reputation or hot streaks. Especially in the Champions League.

Nuts and Bolts

At first glance, Real’s domestic form would also seem to favour a Man City victory tonight. The away side have won back-to-back games in La Liga only once since late February, and on the weekend they finally surrendered the league title to Xavi’s Barcelona.

But Carlo Ancelotti’s side are unbeaten in their last five matches in the Champions League. And all of Real’s UCL knockout games so far have been against Premier League opposition, with Los Blancos racking up big aggregate wins against Liverpool and Chelsea, before drawing 1-1 with City last week.

On top of that Real Madrid are the most decorated club in the competition’s history, and they arrive at the Etihad as the defending champions as well.

So what can we deduce from the first leg of this matchup? On 56% City had slightly more of the possession but Real had greater shots (13) and greater expected goals (0.7). 

Both sides effectively handled the opposition's number nine with Benzema and Haaland kept off the scoresheet. And both sides scored outside-the-box-screamers, with Vinny Jr. and KVB hitting goal of the tournament contenders at the Bernabeu.

On stats alone then, it looks to be Pep Guardiola’s year. But the normal rules so often don’t apply to Los Blancos in this competition, making this arguably the most dramatic game of the 2022/23 season.

Homestand Picks

All odds courtesy of Northstar Bets

Matchups: Benzema to score more than Haaland (+110)

Antonio Rüdiger effectively marked Haaland out of the game in Madrid, while Benzema had a number of good chances and found the net on his last visit to the Etihad.

Pre-pack parlay: Both teams to score & Over 2.5 goals (-124)

Real have scored 7 goals on English soil in the Champions League knockout rounds this season, while City have scored 10 in their last two UCL home fixtures.