Premier League champions Manchester City will travel to Spain to face Atletico Madrid in a crucial UEFA Champions League encounter. City have a 1-0 lead heading into the second leg of their quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid.
Manchester City played out an exciting 2-2 draw, with fellow Premier League title aspirants, Liverpool, at the Etihad on Sunday. Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus got on the scoresheet for City, while Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane got one apiece for Liverpool.
Kevin De Bruyne scored a crucial goal for Manchester City in the 70th minute of the first leg at the Etihad. Phil Foden, who had just been introduced as a substitute two minutes earlier, picked out De Bruyne inside the area after a brilliant bit of play. The Belgian international dispatched it to the back of the net without much hassle to give City a narrow lead ahead of the second leg.
The xG timeline from the first leg indicates that Atletico Madrid did not generate any xG in the game as they failed to have a single shot on target. City created several chances in the game, as seen in the xT timeline. De Bruyne attempted most shots on goal for City and generated an xG of 0.71.
The above visual shows us the xT creation zones for Manchester City and the players who have generated the highest xT from their passes. The visual indicates City have been most threatening from the left flank, as they have darker xT creation zones on the left. They are highly dangerous when they have the ball in the final third, as the above visual suggests. Joao Cancelo has generated the highest xT for the Cityzens. He has generated an xT of 1.227 from his crosses into the box.
Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, suffered a 1-0 loss to Mallorca over the weekend. Atletico Madrid defended deep and parked the bus against City in the first leg as they tried to sit back and soak the pressure. It was a plan that nearly worked for them on the night as they limited City to just two shots on target. While they did well to contain City, Atletico failed to register a single shot on goal in the first leg and did face a lot of criticism for their style of play.
Atletico Madrid’s xT creation map suggests that they have also been highly threatening from the wider areas of the pitch, but the Spanish side failed to do so in the first leg against Manchester City. Rodrigo De Paul and Koke have generated the highest xT for Atletico from their passes. De Paul has created an xT of 0.913 from his simple passes into the final third.
Manchester City have a narrow advantage over Atletico going into the second leg but cannot rely on that one-goal lead. Simeone’s men are known to produce some brilliant performances against top sides and cannot be underestimated.
Atletico Madrid predicted starting lineup:
Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Reinildo; Vrsaljko, Llorente, Koke, Lemar, Lodi; Griezmann, Felix.
Manchester City predicted starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling.