Should Real Madrid risk playing out from the back against a team like City?
Ancelotti has to do a lot of thinking on how he wants to set up for this game. In many big games, to the dismay of some Madridistas, Ancelotti chose to play deep defensively and attack almost exclusively on the counter. He took this approach in the first leg against PSG, in the 2-1 win over Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season, and against Barcelona in the Supercup as well.
This type of setup may make the most sense against a dominant City side in Manchester. Madrid struggled mightily trying to build from the back against City in 2020, and this current Madrid side have shown they are vulnerable to costly mistakes while building up as well.
There is a risk to sitting back though. City are a dominant side, there is no guarantee that Madrid can hold them to 0 or even just 1 goal no matter how deep they defend. Madrid must pose some goal threat even away at Manchester. Allowing City to have all of the ball will eventually result in goals.
The personnel affects this decision as well. If Casemiro cannot play, Madrid may be more inclined to play out from the back since that is one of Casemiro’s weaknesses. Ancelotti may also be less comfortable defending in a low block without Casemiro there.
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Regardless of how he chooses to set up, Ancelotti must have a clearly communicated well thoughtout plan if Madrid want to go into Manchester and beat the top team in England.