Real Madrid vs Man City Odds, Pick | Champions League Semifinals

Real Madrid vs Man City Odds, Pick | Champions League Semifinals article feature image

Quality Sport Images/Getty. Pictured: Kyle Walker and Eduardo Camavinga.

Real Madrid vs Man City Odds

Wed, May 17
3 p.m. ET

Real Madrid Odds


Man City Odds

Over/Under2.5 (-163 / +130)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-150 / +110)
Odds via bet365. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Everything is to play for in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals as we make a Real Madrid vs Man City pick for the second leg, with the fixture tied at 1-1 with the winner moving on to the final.

City are in a pressure-packed point of the season where they are trying to wrap up the Premier League title while also trying to put the past to bed and win their first Champions League title after coming up short so many times. They had one of their worst offensive showings of the season in the first leg with Erling Haaland notably quiet. City were minutes away from the final last season before collapsing in stoppage time, so they will be out for revenge against Real Madrid.

Real Madrid got a much deserved draw in the first leg and quite honestly looked every bit as good as the best team in the world. Carlo Ancelotti has been in this spot many times throughout his career and has a team set up to play the exact style needed to beat Manchester City. The question is, can they defend as effectively as they did in the first leg and capitalize on their transitional opportunities? We will see.

Man City Facing Tactical Dilemma

Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world and it's because of his ability to constantly tinker with his tactics to find the right balance. He has changed his formation to a 3-2-4-1 and is playing four center backs plus Rodri, giving Manchester City ultimate defensive control. Granted, all of his defenders are outstanding ball carriers and passers, so there isn't too much of a drop off and City can continue to play out of the back and control possession.

In the first leg, Guardiola brought on Kyle Walker and played a back four because of the threat of Vinicius Junior. Walker is an outstanding 1 v 1 defender and it makes sense to play him over someone like Manuel Akanji or Nathan Ake, but the problem is Walker can't invert into the middle of the pitch in build up play like Akanji or Ake.

Guardiola used to be obsessed with playing through the middle of the pitch and maintaining numerical superiority there. Lately, since Akanji and Ake can play more centrally, it allows Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bryune and Bernardo Silva to play more in wide areas, creating one on one opportunities out wide to send in crosses to Haaland. However, De Bryune stayed more central in build up play in the first leg ,signifying Guardiola's careful approach to not allow Real Madrid to beat them in transition.

This is Guardiola beckoning Stones forward, maybe because a Real Madrid player wouldn't pick him up?

I think most of what Guardiola did yesterday was to honestly prioritise not conceding, you'd normally see De Bruyne-Gundogan-Bernardo dragging players around here

— Dharnish (@dharnishiqbal) May 10, 2023

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Real Madrid Have Been Here Before

It was a very impressive first leg from Real Madrid. They became just the second team this season to hold City under 1 xG. They did a fantastic job of not allowing City into their penalty area. City only had three penalty box shots and an xThreat of 1.07.

There were countless times that Real Madrid were dropping five and sometimes even six guys into the back line of defense so Manchester City couldn’t create overloads in the box. The Cityzens were forced to take seven of their 10 shots from outside the box.

Real Madrid also did a fantastic job of playing through Manchester City’s pressure. City only had a PPDA of 12.7 and Real Madrid had a build up completion percentage of 86.7%. In the Premier League this season, City are averaging a PPDA of 10.2 and allowing a build up completion percentage of 78.5%. If they are able to do that again, then they are live to take City at the Etihad.

Man City vs Real Madrid Pick

This match sets up perfectly for Real Madrid to sit deep, concede possession to Real Madrid and look for transitional opportunities for Vinicius Jr, Benzema and Rodrygo. However, it also sets up for Guardiola to go back to his patented obsession with game control and slow the pace down and control 60% or more possession. So, the question is how cautious is Guardiola going to be? Does he go back to the 3-2-4-1 that has brought them so much success or play Walker in a back four to help cover Vinicius Jr.? 

I have a really hard time believing that Guardiola doesn't try to control this match as much as possible. He'll likely look to slow the pace down, trying to play through the middle of the pitch and pulling Real Madrid out of position to create space for all of their attackers.

Given how the first leg went and considering the circumstances, I love the value on the under 3 at -121.

Pick: Under 3 (-121) 

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