Sky Sports pundit gives his verdict on Real Madrid’s first leg against Manchester City

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Charlie Nicholas feels that the first leg between Real Madrid and Manchester City will end in a draw.

Both sides will play probably the most anticipated tie in the Champions League last 16. Real Madrid have had a much better season than 2018/19 and have a very good chance of winning the La Liga. Man City on the other hand, haven’t exactly had a desirable 2019/20 by their standards as they are way behind Liverpool at the top of the table.

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Nicholas feels that the first leg at the Bernabeu will end in a draw, predicting a 2-2 result. In his column for Sky Sports, the former Arsenal man wrote: “Real Madrid are unpredictable. They blew their position at the top of La Liga with defeat at Levante. But they are the masters of this competition. They knew how to win it even when they were not playing well. They were not favourites then, and they are not favourites now. I do not even think they are favourites in this tie.

“I see Manchester City scoring here. Aymeric Laporte played another 75 minutes and hopefully he is fit as he will be a positive for them at the back. Where is the big fear factor for City? Sergio Ramos is coming to the end and will be moving on. Eden Hazard is out. I think they’d sell Luka Modric and Gareth Bale if they could. The reputation of the club is the answer but Pep Guardiola has won there in domestic competitions before. City will embrace the Bernabeu. They have not been playing as well as they should but when they go after a game, they are a different class, especially when they get on the ball. Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva will be key.”

Real Madrid will be looking to make the most out of the first leg since it won’t be easy to beat City at the Etihad. Los Blancos have the best defensive record in La Liga but their opposition have some pretty solid players who will make it difficult for them.

City already have a strong team and will be boosted by the return of Aymeric Laporte who’ll be expected to give a hard time to Karim Benzema. Pep Guardiola’s side may not be able to win the first leg but there’s a good chance of them scoring an away goal or two.

Nevertheless, the match promises to be anything but one-sided.

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