5 Points From The Atletico Madrid – Manchester City Game

Just as we expected, the Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City game was as firecracker of a game. Even though it finished 0-0, it was a thoroughly entertaining spectacle for neutrals, only marred by the ugly scenes right at the end.

How did the game unfold and what does it mean for both teams going forward?

Atletico Madrid Need To Show Their Attacking Side More Often
Going into this game, we expected Atlético Madrid to take the game to Manchester City at some point. However, we were not prepared for how early the home side began to attack.

Almost from the first whistle, the Atlético players swarmed forward and attempted to find holes in the Man. City defence. By doing that, they left themselves vulnerable to several City counterattacks, but they were clearly prepared for those.

At the end of the game, Atlético had recorded more shots than Manchester City and were unlucky to have scored no goals during the game.

Their current defence-first approach in big games has served them well but going forward, they must move to a more expansive style and try to match other European giants blow-for-blow.

In João Félix, they have an absolute gem. Over these two legs, the young Portuguese forward has looked the most likely to make something happen for Atlético. It would be a shame if they were to lose a player of his undoubted quality because of the defensive football Diego Simeone prioritizes.

Manchester City Finally Embrace The Dark Arts
As strange as it was to see Atletico attack so freely in a game of this magnitude, Manchester City’s willingness to sit behind the ball and protect their slender lead was also surprising.

Pep Guardiola has caught flak from football analysts in the past for how often he seems to overthink and cost his side in games they really should be winning.

In this game, he refused to overcommit his players and even brought in outgoing captain, Fernandinho, to shore up the midfield late on.

Manchester City rode their luck at times and were fortunate to have not conceded any goals by the time the full-time whistle blew. However, they thoroughly merited the 0-0 draw and deservedly advance to the semifinal to face Real Madrid.

Atletico Madrid Players Losing Their Heads
In the 13th minute, Atlético centre back, Felipe leaped elbow-first to contest a header with Phil Foden and left the Manchester City winger on the ground in a heap. Despite the protests from the Manchester City bench, the referee did not book Felipe and play was soon allowed to continue after Foden’s bleeding head had been bandaged.

Later in the first half, Felipe’s central defensive partner, Stefan Savic chased down a loose ball along with Foden. This time, the former City centre back shoulder-barged Foden even though the ball was already rolling out of play.

It was clear at this point that the Atlético players had been instructed to “rough up” the Manchester City youngster to provoke him into a reaction.

The provocation boiled over in the 90th minute when Felipe executed a wonderful tackle to dispossess Foden on the left wing and then kicked the City winger in the calf.

It was a snide and unnecessary tackle at a time when Atlético were in the ascendancy and had City pegged back. The referee duly produced a second yellow card and sent Felipe off after the dust had cleared, effectively easing the pressure on Manchester City and allowing them to regain the upper hand.

More relevant, however, was Savic’s reaction when Foden rolled back onto the pitch in an attempt to delay the game further. Enraged, the Montenegrin centre back, dragged Foden back off and sparked the brawl that was restarted in the tunnel after the game ended.

One thing is for sure, Atlético Madrid deserve the heavy fines that will be levied on them/their players by UEFA.

Real Madrid Should Not Be Afraid of Manchester City
The semifinal fixtures are finally set. Liverpool will face Villarreal while Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City to battle familiar foe, Real Madrid for a place in the UCL final.

Both legs of the Manchester City- Atlético tie have made it abundantly clear that there is more reward in attacking City than there is in bunkering down in a low block. It’s left to see if Carlo Ancelotti learns the relevant lessons before Real Madrid face the reigning EPL champions.

One thing is for sure, the tie will not be as one-sided as it was two years ago when Man City won 2-1 twice to advance to the semifinals at Real Madrid’s expense.

UCL Now Puts Liverpool And Manchester City On An Exciting Collision Course
The UCL draw means Manchester City and Liverpool can now play out their rivalry in the UCL final this year.

Basically, this means if both teams beat their Spanish opponents, they can set up an almost-unprecedented one month period where either of the EPL giants can completely wreck the season of the other by winning the UCL, knocking the other out of the FA Cup and outlasting the other to win the English Premier League.

In 2002, Bayer Leverkusen lost out on three trophies in just eleven days. Two decades later, Manchester City and Liverpool each have the chance to claim a treble (a quadruple in Liverpool’s case) and ruin the other’s season.

Strap in, it’s going to be a wild ride!

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Author: Clayton Kuhn