Real Madrid Starting XI Prediction vs. Manchester City for Champions League semifinal first leg

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, David Alaba
Real Madrid, David Alaba (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images) /

After eliminating two of the best teams in the competition in PSG and Chelsea, Real Madrid will now have to face the Champions League favorites on the road this Tuesday night in the first leg of the semifinals.

Manchester City are still competing with Liverpool at the top of the table, but Pep Guardiola’s side looks set to win yet another Premier League title. And in the Champions League, they will like their chances of reaching the final for a second straight year, having embarrassed the Merengues a couple of years ago in the Round of 16.

As we saw last season, though, City are not infallible. And as we have seen throughout 2021/22, Real Madrid have that something magical about them.

Here is a prediction for how Los Blancos’ starting XI could look on Tuesday night at the Etihad.

GK Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois is the most obvious start there is. The world-class goalkeeper could be THE decisive player in the tie. He made phenomenal saves in the first legs of both victorious ties against PSG and Chelsea.

LB Ferland Mendy

Though Ferland Mendy is dealing with an injury, he should be able to make his return on Tuesday to face one of the world’s finest right wingers, Riyad Mahrez. Mendy’s ability on the ball will be tested, as Guardiola will try to force him to make good decisions on the ball in his own half and even be an outlet in attack. We will see if he is up to the task after struggling at times in the second leg vs. Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

CB David Alaba

Another potential injury doubt, David Alaba’s status is even more in question after recently suffering an injury against Osasuna. But my early prediction is that the Austrian center back will be able to play. He is so important to Real Madrid as a leader and is the defender who shows the most consistency. Alaba’s reading of the game and passing are vital to Los Blancos and will be even moreso against the tactical powerhouse that is Manchester City.

CB Eder Militao

Hopefully, Eder Militao got all of the mistakes out of his system in Wednesday night’s win over Osasuna. He has been fantastic this season next to Alaba, and we saw against Chelsea how much he is missed when he is unavailable. Militao will be tested plenty by Guardiola’s press, as he may challenge the Brazilian in the same way he forced Raphael Varane into two horrific mistakes the last time these two elite European clubs faced each other. I have a feeling Militao will be motivated and up to the task.

RB Dani Carvajal

When Real Madrid last went up against Manchester City, Varane received the majority of the criticism, but Dani Carvajal was also at fault for the elimination after a disasterclass of his own in the first leg against substitute Raheem Sterling. And this season, he has been just as culpable against certain wingers, with Kylian Mbappe and Ferran Torres having field days against him. He even struggled at times in the second leg against Chelsea.

But with Fede Valverde providing more defensive solidity than Marco Asensio on the right-hand side, Carvajal has bounced back to an extent. He will be one of Real’s most important players in the semifinal.