Manchester City will travel to Madrid on Wednesday to face Atletico in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. The winner in the first leg (1–0), the English club must not give up in order to qualify and advance to the last four. Contrary to popular belief about a very attacking Manchester City, Pep Guardiola’s team is one of the best defenses in Europe.
Pep Guardiola criticized the very defensive strategy employed by Diego Simeone during the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final between Manchester City and Atlético de Madrid. Victorious at home thanks to a goal from Kevin de Bruyne (1-0), the Catalan technician-trained team will have to maintain their slim lead to join Real Madrid in the final European Four in Spain this Wednesday (from 9 pm onwards). Live on The Indian Paper) 1). In the shadow of a fiery onslaught where stars like Riyadh Mahrez, Phil Foden or even Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus join in and delight, Citizens’ defense is also a real guarantee of perseverance.
an impenetrable defense
Manchester City have already conceded two defeats in the Champions League this season. Two defeats at the base of PSG and Leipzig during the chickens. If the English club conceded ten goals during this first part of their European campaign (the second-worst defense among those qualified for eighth), it has become completely impregnable since the start of the knockout stage. It’s simple, the current leader of the Premier League has not scored a single goal in his two matches against Sporting and in the first leg of the quarter-finals against Atletico.
The result of working hard to strangle an opponent and prevent him from getting his chances to score. If Colchoneros is happy to let his opponent try his luck (35 shots on target and 43 shots off target in nine games), that’s not the case for Manchester City at all.
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The English club gave relatively few chances on the strength of the work done in the midfield, especially by Rodri and Bernardo Silva, or as soon as the ball was lost by the attackers. In nine C1 matches in 2021–2022, Skyblues allowed their opponent to shoot 31 times (20 on target and 21 times off target) during the four-posters against Paris and Leipzig.
By comparison, Atlético faced 78 shots in nine games when Chelsea left 74 opportunities for their rivals, or Real and Villarreal are also well above (116 and 110 shots were faced, respectively). Quite clearly, Manchester City knows how to defend and should make it a point again this Wednesday on the lawns of Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano. It’s simple, only Liverpool (given 55 chances) outperformed the team coached by Pep Guardiola.
Reuben Dias, Essential, is back in the group
Absent in an eighth return and for the first leg of the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Ruben Dias returns to the English group to travel to Spain this Wednesday. Recruited at a golden price from Benfica during the summer of 2020, the Portuguese central has become the essential rock of Manchester City defence.
In six European games during the 2021-2022 campaign (five starts), the 24-year-old scratched an opponent’s leg off at least 32 balls. All defending correctly as evidenced by the total number of fouls committed (only 5), including none within 30 meters of his target.
Unfortunately for Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has confirmed that the Lusitanian international will not play at kick-off in Madrid this Wednesday night. Blame it for the lack of rhythm after six weeks of no training. “He did a training session after six weeks off, launching the technician in front of the press. It’s premature[to set him up]but the fact that he’s back to us with the calendar is a Good point. Everyone will be important and Reuben is there.”
John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will be renewed in the absence of Ruben Dias at the start of this shock in the Champions League. Long accustomed to rotation, the Englishman and Spaniard have taken advantage of recent weeks to work on their complementarity. But if Manchester City were thrown into trouble by partners Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix, it is up to Ruben Dias that the staff will turn to restore order in the defence. The Portuguese, absent from March 1 is expected to be in jail and even off the bench, he will bring a touch of peace to his teammates.
Cando and Walker, Strong to the Side
We will almost forget him as Joo Cancillo multiplied his good performances manifold but the Portuguese side hasn’t played in their preferred position for a few months now. Formed on the right, the 27-year-old defender finds himself set in the left alley while awaiting the end of Benjamin Mendy’s failures with the justice system in an alleged rape and sexual assault case. And in the absence of the 2018 world champion, Joo Cancello is doing better than helping out this season.
The undisputed holder in the league, he played almost everything with the Citizens. Left to rest during counting matches for Butter against Leipzig and return against Sporting in the Champions League, the former Benfica and Juventus player continues to perform at a high level, scoring no less than three goals. And there are nine assistant deciders in 42 matches in all. Competitions.
Even better for Manchester City, in the right lane is Joao Cancillo’s counterpart Kyle Walker. And like the Portuguese, the English side is having a great season across the channel. At almost 32 years old, the former Tottenham has multiplied the big games. If he played a little less (29 appearances) due to physical lethargy and the need to recover at the end of December, the Englishman remains a guarantee of perseverance.
Back in top form in the best time of the season, Kyle Walker must bring all his might in the doubles against Atletico. His good pace will be a solid asset against the counterattacks of Colconeros and the acceleration of Grizzo, Ferreira-Carrasco and others.
best defense is attack
Done by dominant individuals, Manchester City’s defense is ultimately elevated by the collective. It’s simple, the English club has simply shown that the best form of defense is to deprive the opponent of possession. By playing with a very high team block, citizens are able to recover many balls and thus avoid jeopardizing their defence.
In the first leg against Atlético at the Etihad, teammates Kevin de Bruyne monopolized the leather with 68% possession. This mastery of the British was felt in the defensive zone with only 15 Madrid attackers with no more shots to manage. This Wednesday evening, the Manchester City defense shouldn’t have many conditions to stop, but Colconeros’ mastery of the counterattack could land them in trouble.