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Team analysis: Manchester City


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RB Leipzig vs. Manchester City

After the dominant 3-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday, full attention at RB Leipzig now turns to the Champions League. This coming Wednesday, we can look forward to a stunning clash with top players on both sides, as RBL take on Manchester City and renowned head coach Pep Guardiola in the first leg of their quarter-final in Leipzig. Kick-off at the sold-out RB Arena will be at 21:00 CET.

The reigning Premier League champions have won a number of domestic trophies in the last few years and have a star-studded line-up. Nevertheless, a look at this Premier League season shows that the Citizens have done well, but not always had it entirely their own way.

The Premier League’s current second-placed side have played a game more than leaders Arsenal and trail the Gunners by two points, having lost four times in 24 games. Last weekend, they drew 1-1 with newly-promoted Nottingham Forest.

We will take a closer look at how City play and where their vulnerabilities lie. If RBL play to their own strengths on Wednesday, then the game will be up for grabs.

Risky passing play leads to turnovers

Manchester City have enjoyed lots of possession in almost every game this season. Guardiola’s philosophy focuses on short passing in tight spaces and dominance on the pitch more than almost any other coach. From time to time, this leads to mistakes, however.

If City fail to break through packed defences and don’t find space, their build-up play becomes more and more risky. If RBL are well-organised right from the start of the game, they will win turnovers, and with this the opportunity to hold onto the ball themselves or to launch quick counter-attacks.

Disorganised when having to work back quickly towards their own goal

City are especially vulnerable in transition. The team play out of the back and come high up the pitch in order to contribute to build-up play. If they then lose the ball, the defence can be disorganised and out of position. The team need to try to do well in challenges on the halfway line in order to get the right result.

After this, the team need to break forward quickly when possible. Timo WernerAndré Silva and Christopher Nkunku are all fast enough to run on to passes from deep. This could lead to overloads and good chances. Not least because City have conceded a majority of the 24 goals they have conceded so far in the league from counters.

Less creativity with less space

It will be really important for RBL to make the pitch as small and congested as possible. This means giving City as little space as possible for their combination play by closing off spaces and plugging gaps. To do this, they will have to run hard out of possession and be alert to danger, but it should pay off.

If City players are already being pressured when they receive the ball, there is less time to make creative choices on the ball. It is not easily mentally when your opponents are always snapping at your heels. At that point, errors and misplaced passes can slip in, which RBL can exploit.

Interestingly, the Manchester team have only scored 19 goals in twelve games away from home. At home, this rises to 41 in twelve. In the group stages this season in the Champions League, City have twice failed to score away, proving that at times Guardiola’s side don’t find it too easy playing away from home.

Dealing with the threat of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland

To keep the Norway international quiet over the full 90 minutes is an enormous task, but in Willi Orbán and Joško Gvardiol , Erling Haaland should be in safe hands. In terms of speed, physicality and strength in duels, the two defenders are in no way inferior to the striker. Moreover, with the signing of their main transfer target, the ‘Sky Blues’ have become slightly more predictable.

When Haaland fails to get into the game and doesn’t receive much of the ball, City’s attacking game is negatively affected. The striker has already scored 31 goals in the Premier League and Champions League, most of these assisted by Kevin De Bruyne. After this, Phil Foden is the next best finisher with eight goals in both competitions.

It is clear that RB Leipzig need to put in an absolutely top performance in order to get a good result. But, Marco Rose’s boys are all a force to be reckoned with, especially at home and have found their best form in the Champions League against top-quality opposition. Alongside Manchester City themselves, RBL have also beaten Real Madrid and Manchester United at home.

All of the key facts ahead of the Champions League quarter-final

RB Leipzig VS. Manchester City: Head-to-Head comparison

RB Leipzig’s history against English teams

Team analysis: Manchester City

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