Premier League winners vs La Liga winners in the Champions League Quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium


The enthralling match up between Manchester City and Atletico Madrid starts tonight, with the first leg at the home of the current Premier League champions Manchester City.

After demolishing Sporting CP in the previous round, Pep Guardiola’s side still have the treble in their sights. But the first and second legs against an Atletico side who knocked out the red half of Manchester in the last 16 come in between two huge games against fellow title contenders Liverpool who themselves are in action tonight away to Benfica.

Diego Simeone will be hoping this will come to his advantage as he looks to pull off his second victory in Manchester in three weeks. The Spanish champions head into the game in better form than their opposition with six straight in all competitions.

The quarter-final of the Champions League has caused many problems for Guardiola during his reign in Manchester with The Citizens knocked out at this stage on three separate occasions against Lyon (2020), Tottenham (2019) and Liverpool (2018). But last season finally saw his side progress past the last eight, reaching the final where they suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat in Porto against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

Having reached the final, City will be desperate to right the wrongs of last season, but they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball against a dangerous and well organised Atletico Madrid side. The Manchester City team over the past years have been put in the argument of one of the best ever Premier League teams alongside the Arsenal invincibles and the treble-winning Manchester United team.

The one trophy that has eluded this team is the Champions League and both players and fans alike will be desperate to win the trophy this year and remove the weight of not winning it off their backs and put this team up at the top of the list with the very best.

A big question heading into the game is what does Pep Guardiola have up his sleeve. In previous seasons Pep has been known to overthink heading into big matches, no more so than in the final last season when he decided to drop both Fernandinho and Rodri to play Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden in midfield. It was the first time in the season that neither Fernandinho nor Rodri had been in the starting 11.

Atletico are a team not to be overlooked and they have shown in previous seasons that they can go away from home in the Champions League and pick up the victory. The way in which Simeone sets his side up is to be very hard to break down and to catch the opposition on the counter-attack and it could be a night of being patient for City as they look to break down a strong defensive unit.

Tonight’s clash between the two will only be the fourth time Guardiola and Simeone have stood in opposite dugouts. The pair only met once in La Liga with Pep picking up a 2-1 victory in that match thanks to a Lionel Messi free-kick. Most notably they faced off in the Champions League in 2016 when Guardiola’s Bayern Munich played Atletico in the knockout stages. Simeone came out on top with the Spanish side going through on away goals following a 2-2 draw over the two legs.

This tie is going to be a tough challenge for The Citizens but one they are expected to overcome with this Madrid side not as good as the teams that reached the 2013/14  and 2015/16 finals.

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