The UEFA Champions League resumes action this midweek, with the quarterfinals getting under on Tuesday with two simultaneous kick-offs. Liverpool will visit Benfica in one of the two matches; however, all eyes will be on the other game as Manchester City prepare to host Atletico Madrid in a highly-anticipated match-up.
Once again, Pep Guardiola’s side are seen as the favorites for the title. However, after years and years of shortcomings on the European stage, could this finally be the year the Cityzens end their wait? Last season’s efforts ended in a heartbreaking defeat to Chelsea in the final, and if Pep wishes to improve on that run, then he must first get the better of Simeone’s men.
The Premier League champions are currently locked in a heated race for the English top-flight crown, with bitter rivals Liverpool sitting a mere point behind. Additionally, Man City will face Jurgen Klopp’s side straight after Tuesday’s showdown with Atletico, which will likely weigh on the manager’s team selection for the first leg UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash.
While City have won all but three of their last 12 outings, with one of those slip-ups being a pointless second leg draw with Sporting CP in the round of 16, Pep’s men have shown a few cracks. The defeat at home to Tottenham and the goalless draw away to Crystal Palace were games in which the opposition looked to defend in numbers and hit the Premier League leaders on the break.
De Bruyne and Co. struggled to break down the opposition in the trip to Selhurst Park in particular, hence why Liverpool are now hot on their heels. It will be interesting to see whether the Manchester giants face a similar issue against Atletico, a team whose stylistic approach matches just that.
Interestingly, it was Diego Simeone’s men who knocked out Manchester’s other representative from this competition. The Spanish giants faced Manchester United in the round of 16, with Joao Felix and Co. getting the better of the Red Devils over two legs.
The first encounter took place in Madrid, with Los Rojiblancos drawing 1-1 despite taking an early lead. However, it was in the second leg in which Atletico got the job done, with the Spanish champions triumphing 1-0 at Old Trafford to make the quarterfinals.
Will Suarez and Co. make it back-to-back victories over Manchester’s two biggest teams? Form is currently on their side, winning their last six outings in a row. In those six encounters, Atletico conceded in only half of those games, letting in no more than a goal each. Do not miss this tie.
Man City: Kyle Walker is unavailable for this match, with the English defender completing his suspension in this tie after receiving a straight red against RB Leipzig in the group stage. Ruben Dias is yet to return from injury while Cole Palmer is Guardiola’s other injury concern.
Atletico: Similar to Walker’s case, Yannick Carrasco is also suspended for this tie. Jose Gimenez is injured and thus ruled out, joining Hector Herrera on the sidelines. Both Renan Lodi and Rodrigo De Paul made their cameos in the weekend victory over Alaves and should thus be available for this tie.
- Guardiola and Simeone have met only three times, with Pep winning twice and Diego emerging triumphant only once.
- Additionally, this will be the first UEFA Champions League encounter between these two clubs.
- Atletico have never won back-to-back games on English soil in this competition’s history.
- The Cityzens have faced Spanish clubs four times under Pep, with the Premier League giants winning all but one of those encounters.