Man City predicted XI to play Real Madrid - 5 changes expected amid defensive selection dilemma
Manchester City could have as few as four fit defenders for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final first leg.
Pep Guardiola has a defensive injury crisis on his hands ahead of Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
The Spaniards travel to the Etihad for Tuesday’s first leg and approach the game on the back of four straight league wins, while they eliminated Chelsea from the Champions League in the previous round.
As for City, they beat Real’s local rivals Atletico Madrid over two legs in the quarter-finals, but the second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano came at a cost, with Joao Cancelo picking up a booking that will rule him out of Tuesday’s game.
There are also concerns about the fitness of Kyle Walker and John Stones, and neither trained on Monday ahead of the game.
Stones picked up a muscular problem in the win over Brighton & Hove Albion last week and looks the more likely to return. As for Walker, he sustained his injury away to Atletico in the last round and is a major doubt for the visit of Real.
The selection crisis at the back means Oleksandr Zinchenko could play from the off on Tuesday, and the defender put in a good display against Watford, with Guardiola praising his adaptability after the fixture.
“He is a reliable player, honestly. Sometimes when he plays less or didn’t perform like normal, it’s because he’s a human being. What happens in his country, we cannot forget it. I know Oleks – the way he played is not necessary for us to know who he is,” the City boss said on Saturday.
Guardiola also gave some indication of which players he could select for the clash with Madrid, during the win over Watford.
Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva didn’t play, while Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan began on the bench. Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte and Rodri were also replaced, almost certainly with Tuesday’s game in mind, and all are likely to start against Real Madrid.
Here’s how we think City will line up…