Talking Tactics: Why Man City may be the toughest English side for Real to beat
When the UEFA Champions League round of 16 draws came out in December 2019, Real Madrid must have been confident about their chances of progressing to the next stage. The Spanish giants were pitted against Manchester City, a team they had beaten in the semi-finals of the same tournament in 2016. But fast forward to February 2020, and the situation has changed drastically. Real Madrid, the 13-time champions of Europe, are going into the first leg of their tie against Manchester City at the Bernabeu as underdogs. But why is this the case? Why are Los Blancos finding it tough to beat Pep Guardiola’s side?
The Importance of Form
Form is crucial in football, and it is often what separates the best from the rest. And when it comes to form, Manchester City is currently the best team in England and one of the best in Europe. Since December, the Citizens have won 19 matches out of 21, losing just one and drawing the other. They have also scored a whopping 63 goals during that period, an average of three goals per match. Meanwhile, Real Madrid has been struggling for consistency this season, losing four of the sixteen league games they played since December.
Pep Guardiola’s Tactical Genius
Pep Guardiola is often regarded as one of the best managers in football history because of his tactical brilliance. The Spaniard has won 29 major trophies, including eight league titles, two Champions Leagues, and two Club World Cups. Guardiola has built a Manchester City team that is comfortable in possession, lethal on the counter-attack, and solid at the back. He has also found ways to beat Real Madrid in the past, and he will be aiming to do it again.
A Potent Attack
Manchester City’s attack is one of the most potent in Europe, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, and Kevin De Bruyne leading the line. Aguero is City’s all-time top scorer and has been in prolific form this season, scoring 16 goals in the Premier League. Sterling is another player who has been on fire this campaign, scoring 11 goals and providing 1 assist in the Champions League so far. De Bruyne, on the other hand, is City’s main man in midfield, and he dictates the tempo of the game.
An Organized Defense
Manchester City’s defense is not just about individual brilliance; it is also about organization and structure. City has the best defensive record in England this season, conceding just 29 goals in 34 league matches. This is a testament to the work that Guardiola has done on the training ground, drilling his players on the importance of positional play and team shape.
In summary, Real Madrid faces a daunting task when they take on Manchester City in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The Citizens are in great form, have an organized defense, and boast one of the most potent attacks in Europe. Pep Guardiola’s tactical genius is also a factor that will make it tough for the Spanish giants to progress to the quarter-finals. It will take a Herculean effort from Real Madrid to beat City, but knowing the pedigree of the Spanish side, anything is possible in football.#RealMadrid #ManchesterCity #UCL #ChampionsLeague #PepGuardiola #SergioAguero #KevinDeBruyne #RaheemSterling #SPORT