Real Madrid - Manchester City Preview: Roberto Mancini's men face nine-time European Cup winners
Jose Mourinho's side will be hoping to put a horrendous start to their league season behind them as they host one of the competitions dark horses on home soil
By James McManus
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo
Ozil, Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo
Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Yaya Toure, Barry
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has a fully fit squad to pick from going into his side's first Champions League game of the season, but the rumoured dissatisfaction of star player Cristiano Ronaldo continues to hit the headlines at home and abroad.
The Portuguese manager's opposite number Roberto Mancini has no fresh injury concerns going into the game, but there are still a number of players who will miss the trip.
Brazilian right-back Maicon could be handed a European debut for his new club after starting against Stoke, with Micah Richards still battling an ankle injury and Pablo Zabaleta nursing a hamstring strain.
Elsewhere, Jack Rodwell may manage to shake off a knee injury in time, while Sergio Aguero could still play some part as he completes an earlier than expected return from his own knee problem.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Madrid's defeat to Sevilla in their last league outing saw them fall eight points behind Barcelona after just four games.
- Los Blancos have won this tournament, in its various previous incarnations, more than any other side in Europe, triumphing nine times in the past.
- However, they last won the Champions League back in 2001-02 under the guidance of current Spain boss Vicente del Bosque.
- Madrid's defeat against Sevilla was their second in the league so far, the same number they suffered during the whole of last season on their way to the title.
- Manchester City are yet to keep a clean sheet so far this season.
- Sergio Aguero (pictured right) was the club's top scorer in Europe last season with five goals.
- Manchester City beat last season's finalists Bayern Munich 2-0 at home in the group stages. The German outfit went on to knock Real Madrid out at the semi-final stage.
- Roberto Mancini failed to win a major European trophy during his four-year spell in charge of Italian outfit Inter Milan, whereas his successor Jose Mourinho won the Champions League with them in his second and final year at San Siro.
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Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid CF 1-2 Manchester City FC
- 15.02 %
Real Madrid CF 3-1 Manchester City FC
- 14.56 %
Real Madrid CF 2-1 Manchester City FC
- 12.38 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 21, 2012||Manchester City FC 1 - Real Madrid CF 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 18, 2012||Real Madrid CF 3 - Manchester City FC 2|
|Real Madrid CF|
|Dec 18, 2013||Real Madrid CF 2 - CD Olímpic de Xàtiva 0||ESPC|
|Dec 14, 2013||Osasuna 2 - Real Madrid CF 2||LIGA|
|Dec 10, 2013||FC Copenhagen 0 - Real Madrid CF 2||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||CD Olímpic de Xàtiva 0 - Real Madrid CF 0||ESPC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Real Madrid CF 4 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
Who else? There's never a dull moment while the destructive Portuguese forward is around and whether it's for his tantrums or stepovers, he is always in the thick of the action. His prowess both in the air and from long range will provide a constant threat to the visitors.
The Ivorian is often asked to perform a role which evolves as the game goes on; firstly sitting in front of the back four in a traditional holding position before later being pushed up to support the attack if his side are still chasing a result. An absolutely fantastic player whose running through the centre could cause problems for both Alonso and Khedira.
There is a feeling that Mourinho may be tempted to put all of his eggs in one (European) basket already this term after Real Madrid's slow start to their league campaign. Though his side have been far from at their best this season, their impressive attacking options should see them trouble a ropey City defence on home turf.