Manchester City v Atlético Madrid: Champions League quarter-final, first leg – live! | Champions League


A reminder of the teams

Manchester City (possible 4-3-3) Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Ake; De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo; Mahrez, Gundogan, Sterling.
Substitutes: Steffen, Carson, Jesus, Grealish, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Foden, Egan-Riley, Mbete.

Atletico Madrid (5-3-2) Cloud; Vrsaljko, Savic, Felipe, Reinildo, Renan Lodi; M Llorente, Kondogbia, Koke; Griezmann, Joao Felix.
Substitutes: Lecomte, Christian, Wass, M Hermoso, Ibra, De Paul, Lemar, J Serrano, Suarez, Correa, Cunha.

Referee Istvan Kovacs (Tring)


Guess who’s back / Back again / Bazza’s back / Tell a friend

After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, the Football Weekly pod squad are going back out on tour. Tickets to live shows in June and July will be available here from midday (BST) on Wednesday.


Wuthering Heights, says Rai Skrupskis, “is epic bo !! ocks.”

I’m sure everyone will agree that you’re half right.


Tonight’s other game is Benfica in Liverpooland you can follow that with Nick Ames.


Atletico come into this tie in prime form. They’ve won seven of their last eight games, and the eighth – a draw at home to Manchester United in the last 16 – ultimately led to victory. But their hardest match in that time was against Real Betis, so this is like jumping straight from level two to level five on Target: Renegade. Or was it level seven, I forget. You get the point, I’m sure. Oh. Well if that’s your attitude I don’t know what else to say.

The Atletico players warm up.
The Atletico players warm up. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

Meanwhile, Manchester City have failed to win three of their last eight games, which makes one wonder whether Pep Guardiola has taken this team as far as he can.


Head-to-head record

This is the first time Manchester City have played Atletico Madrid, so there’s not much point carrying on with this entry is there.


“I see Pep has deceived you once more with the team he in his supreme wisdom has picked for A.Madrid, ”says Greg Pizzaman. “He will not give up his left-sided quarter back Cancelo just because Walker is suspended. Stones at RB. You poor mortal. ”

I did say it would be either Stones or Cancelo, so I don’t consider myself chief patsy just yet. But I’ll put my hands up if he starts with a back four of Sterling, Mahrez, Guardiola and Brian Marwood.


There a few interpretations of that City XI. The official City Twitter graphic implies John Stones at right-back and Kevin De Bruyne as the false nine, but a few clubs have started peddling tactical disinformation on everyone’s favorite social-media platform.

For whatever it’s worth – and clubs do sometimes tip the wink to broadcasters – BT Sport have Joao Cancelo at right-back, Nathan Ake at left-back and Ilkay Gundogan as the false nine.


Team news

Pep Guardiola’s team selection has barely registered on the Champions League Overthinkingometer. He’s left out Jack Grealish and, a bit more surprisingly, Phil Foden, but it still looks like a typical 4-3-3 with a holding midfielder and a false nine.

Nathan Ake effectively replaces the suspended Kyle Walker, with either Joao Cancelo or John Stones moving to right-back, and Kevin De Bruyne will probably be the false nine.

Meanwhile, Diego Simeone has reverted to the back three / five that worked so well at Old Trafford. But Atletico are without their best defender Jose Gimenez, who was injured against Alaves at the weekend.



Wuthering Heights is an epic tale of tragic love; so is Dawson’s Creek. But if you want a nuanced, modern take on obsessive longing, you need to lose yourself in Manchester City and Atletico Madrid’s Champions League story. For the best part of a decade, both have craved to touch you know what. (The link is safe for work, honestly. Yep, absolutely fine. Ticketyboo.) Both have suffered reality checks, heartbreak, frustration injustice and, most dysphoria inducingly of all, defeat in the final. Two finals in Atleti’s case, and don’t even get me started on Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck.

Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone are running out of time to win this competition with their current teams. For one of them, another chance will disappear over the next eight days. It’s Manchester City v Atletico Madrid, with the winners to face either Chelsea or Real Madrid in a semi-final which, whatever the permutation, will be loaded with meaning.

The first leg of the quarter-final is at the Etihad tonight, with the second at the Wanda Metropolitano next Wednesday. City are strong favorites, for reasons that would be intelligence-insulting to explain, and all things being equal they will go through. But all things weren’t equal when Atletico put Guardiola’s Bayern out in the 2015-16 semi-final, or when they eliminated a rampant Liverpool two years ago, or when Pep was too funky by far against Spurs / Lyon / Chelsea.

If Atletico can get out of Manchester with at worst a one-goal deficit, they will fancy their chances next week. But for a word with only two letters, that’s a pretty big if. City are huge favorites, and nobody should be surprised if they get most of the job done tonight.

Kick off 8pm.

‘I overthink a lot’ – Pep Guardiola jokes about Champions League tactics – video

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