English Premier League leaders and reigning champions Manchester City will be hosting Spanish giants and champions Real Madrid in an important Champions League matchup on November 21 at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City has been terrible in the Champions League over the past two seasons and manager Roberto Mancini knows it will take a miracle for his team to advance to the second stage of the competition.
Nothing less than a win will do for City as they sit in last place in Group D with just two points from two losses and two draws. Real Madrid is in second place with two wins, a draw and a loss for seven points while Borussia Dortmund lads the group with eight points and Ajax is in third place with four. The task looks almost impossible for Man City and many fans feel they’re just hoping to make it to the Europa League and do well there.
City is unbeaten in England this year and is coming off of a 5-0 thumping over Aston Villa on the weekend. However, Gael Clichy was injured in that game and he may have to sit out while Aleksandar Kolarov could take over his position at left-back. It looks like defender Joleon Lescott will be out of action along with midfielder James Milner as they’re both suffering from injuries. Defender Micah Richards is also sidelined, but midfielders Samir Nasri and Jack Rodwell are expected to be healthy enough to be included in the squad.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho also has a couple of injury concerns as forward Gonzalo Higuain has a thigh injury and defender Marcelo is out with a broken foot. But besides those two, the rest of the squad appears to be healthy.
City has their work cut out for them and history is against them. In the past, just a pair of teams in the Champions League has been able to advance after doing so poorly in the first four games. Porto had two points after four matches and did it and Lokomotiv Moskow had just one point in four games and also managed to advance.
The first match between City and Real Madrid saw the Spanish club pull out a 3-2 win. Still, City has a pretty good home record in European competition. They haven’t lost in their last 19 European games at Etihad with 14 wins and five draws. Their last home loss in Europe came in 2008 when FC Midtjylland beat them.
The player to watch for Real Madrid will be Cristiano Ronaldo as usual. The Portuguese star has scored 14 goals in his past 11 Champions League matches and five this season. Overall, Madrid has won four matches in England while drawing a pair and losing five. Madrid hammered Bilbao 5-1 in the Spanish La Liga on the weekend and in their past five games overall they have four wins and a draw. City has three wins and two draws in their last five.
Madrid will be looking for all three points and City will be playing for pride and hoping for a miracle. There should be a few goals scored here and a draw could be a likely result.
The latest odds on this match from sportsbook William Hill show a Man City win at 23/10 with a Real Madrid victory at 11/10 and a draw at 5/2.