Prediction & odds for the game: Real Madrid (7/4) v Manchester City (7/5)
When: Wednesday, 26th February 2020 @ 8pm K.O
Where: Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid’s push to reclaim their European crown will continue when they go head to head with Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Bringing stability back to Real Madrid seemed to be the aim of Zinedine Zidane once he came back to the club and as time goes on, it feels like he’s slowly but surely starting to achieve that. While they’ve had a few setbacks in recent times, such as the injury problems of Eden Hazard, they still have a solid enough squad that is ready and willing to compete at a high level on a week to week basis. Whether or not they still match up well against a team like Manchester City is a different matter altogether.
While Real were able to dismantle Zaragoza 4-0 in the fourth round of the Copa del Rey, their quest for glory came to an end at the hands of Sociedad in a 4-3 fifth round defeat. They did manage to edge out Atletico Madrid in La Liga and beat Osasuna 4-1, but since then they’ve lost their lead in the title race due to a 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo and a 1-0 loss away at Levante.
Pep Guardiola’s men are well aware of the fact that this tie could serve as the last Champions League appearance for them until 2022, and that should be a powerful motivator for them to prove what they’re capable of. Alas, while you’d expect this team to improve and grow as the season goes on, it doesn’t seem like that’s the direction they’re trending in at all. They’re suffering from a real lack of drive right now and if that continues, this tie could get ugly.
A steady win over Sheffield United and a 4-0 battering of Fulham in the FA Cup got City back on track in late January, but a crazy few games in which they lost to Manchester United (whilst still going through to the Carabao Cup final) and Tottenham in the league left them reeling. They’ve steadied the ship slightly ever since thanks to a 2-0 win over Leicester and a controversial 1-0 win over Leicester.
While Real Madrid have stumbled in recent weeks, it just feels like they’re a more complete team than Manchester City right now. They seem to turn it up a notch in Europe and they want their crown back more than anything – whereas City know that even if they win the title this year, they probably won’t even be able to defend it next season. We think it’s going to be a pretty narrow first leg with Madrid edging out the Champions of England, taking a slender lead to the Etihad.
It isn’t going to be the most wonderful game of football we’ve ever seen despite the two teams that are involved, and that’s why we’re backing the under 2.5 goals market.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 7/4 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 13/10. (All odds are taken from bet365).