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The odds for Manchester City vs Real Madrid are provided by the FanDuel sportsbook. Bet $5 and get $150 in free bets.
On home soil, the Premier League leaders could prove too strong even for the European champions.
Back Manchester City to beat Real Madrid and over 2.5 goals. (+111)
Manchester City had most of the possession in the early stages of last week’s first leg, but it was Real Madrid who took the lead. Vinicius Junior’s thunderous strike flew past Ederson in the visitors’ goal to put the reigning European champions 1-0 up on home turf.
Madrid proceeded to have a dominant spell of their own, but clear-cut chances were relatively few and far between. The next goal of the game belonged to City, as a rasping Kevin De Bruyne drive beat Thibaut Courtois to restore parity.
A 1-1 draw at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was a better result for City than it was for Madrid, but this tie is still hanging in the balance. Given their recent record in the Champions League, it would be foolish to write the Blancos off.
Still, City deserve their status as favorites with the best online sportsbooks. They are in phenomenal form right now. A run of 11th consecutive wins has seen them take control of the Premier League title race. One more victory would be enough for City to get their hands on the trophy for the fifth time in the last six years.
Their record at the Etihad Stadium is particularly impressive. Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea are among the teams that have lost to City on their own patch in 2022/23.
City are on for a potential treble of Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup (they will face Manchester United in the final of the latter competition next month). Wednesday’s match is their biggest remaining test.
That is in part because of the strength of Madrid, but it also has plenty to do with City’s sub-par record in continental competition throughout the Guardiola era. Despite often being touted as the best team in Europe, City have only ever reached one Champions League final. They are desperate for that to change.
In some ways Real Madrid are the antithesis of Manchester City. Whereas the latter are closing in on a fifth league championship in six years, Madrid had to watch Barcelona claim the La Liga title at the weekend. Carlo Ancelotti’s side could still finish third.
The Blancos have won only four titles in the last 15 years. For a club of their size in what has often been a two-horse race (with due respect to the occasional disruptors of Atletico Madrid), that is a poor record.
However, Madrid have excelled in Europe in recent times. Compared to four trophies in 15 years in La Liga, they have claimed the same number in the Champions League since 2016.
Madrid tend to raise their game in knockout competition, and whereas they have sometimes lacked the requisite consistency over the course of a 38-game league campaign, they are masters at performing when the heat is on in Europe.
That is why they can never be written off in this tournament, especially under Ancelotti - the most successful manager in Champions League history.
Madrid went 2-0 down in front of a deafening atmosphere at Anfield earlier this season. They came back to win 5-2. Last term they mounted remarkable comebacks to eliminate Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. Even if they concede the first goal on Wednesday, Madrid will not be daunted.
Taking all that into account, we anticipate this being a hard-fought encounter. On balance, though, it is worth backing Manchester City to come out on top.
The Premier League champions-elect will benefit from home advantage. Madrid will not be fazed by the atmosphere, but City have a habit of overwhelming opponents at the Etihad. They made a blistering start to the first leg of last season’s semi, going 2-0 up inside 11 minutes.
The presence on the side of Erling Haaland means City have improved from last year. Even when they are not playing at their best, the Norway international can turn a game in an instant. His scoring record is astonishing: 52 goals in 48 games in all competitions this season.
A clean sheet could be beyond the home team, though. Keeping an attacking unit comprising Vinicius, Rodrygo and Karim Benzema quiet will be very difficult indeed.
More broadly, it is hard to see this being a low-scoring game. The tie will be decided on Wednesday, so if a team falls behind on aggregate they will be compelled to take risks as they fight for a way back. That should lead to a more open encounter than we saw last week.
Go for a Manchester City victory and over 2.5 goals in this one.
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Teams: Manchester City vs Real Madrid
Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Date and Time: May. 17, 2023, 3 p.m. ET
How to Watch: CBS, Paramount+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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