Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne start in predicted Man City starting line-up vs Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola could welcome Kyle Walker back into the starting XI for Wednesday’s pivotal trip to Real Madrid.
Manchester City travel to the Spanish capital for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie following the thrilling opening fixture at the Etihad last week. Though the Blues hold the advantage, it’s still all to play for after Los Blancos managed to reduce the deficit to just one goal having trailed by two on three separate occasions.
Both sides go into the match having notched comfortable 4-0 victories at the weekend, with Madrid securing the La Liga title in the process, but City could be buoyed by the return of Walker. Guardiola was without either of his senior right-backs for the first leg as Walker has been injured since the victory over Atletico Madrid last month, while Joao Cancelo was suspended.
After weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury, Walker was in training on Tuesday ahead of the flight to Spain and the Blues boss is hopeful he will be able to return. Cancelo, meanwhile, played the full 90 minutes against Leeds on Saturday and is available again after serving his ban.
“Joao feels good and we will see tomorrow how Kyle wakes up after training today,” Guardiola said. “He trained and he is going to travel and tomorrow we will decide. He was three weeks without training but happy he is back and hopefully he will be in contention.”
John Stones remains unavailable, however, after injuring himself in the first leg, a match he rushed back for in order to fill in at right-back. As a result, the partnership of Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte will almost certainly remain in the middle, with Walker starting on the right if he is available. If not, Cancelo will have to switch sides with either Nathan Ake or Aleks Zinchenko coming in on the left.
Guardiola rested Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva for the trip to Elland Road and both will likely come back into the starting XI at the Bernabeu. Bernardo may join Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan in midfield in a match City will look to control as much as possible.
That will leave De Bruyne to play the false-9 role with Phil Foden to his left and Riyad Mahrez, who was also given the day off in West Yorkshire, coming back in on the right. That would see Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling all drop to the bench.
Predicted Man City starting XI vs Real Madrid: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Bernardo, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden.
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