In the days leading up to the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, both Real Madrid and Manchester City secured important victories. The Spanish giants defeated Osasuna 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final, and they will now await a rematch of last season’s crazy semifinal, which saw Madrid stage a wild comeback against the Citizens at the Bernabeu.
Manchester City defeated Leeds 2-1 convincingly even though Pep rested 4 key players; Jack Grealish, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and John Stones. The victory maintained City’s position at the top of EPL table, one point ahead of Arsenal with one match in hand.
In Italy, both AC Milan and Inter Milan also recorded important wins in their bids to secure a Champions League qualification position in their domestic table. AC Milan defeated Lazio 2-0 and Inter defeated Mourinho’s Roma by the same score. The Milan intra-city rivals are now in a stronger position to finish within the top four by the end of the season.
In case you missed it, here are links to my UCL MD-11 Preview article and PPQ’s RMT article.
Cheers and good luck!
Team News (Injuries/Suspensions)
Luka Modric’s late appearance in the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna reassured Real Madrid fans after concerns over a hamstring injury had been raised. Therefore, Ferland Mendy remains the only sidelined player for Carlo Ancelotti’s Spanish Cup winners and UCL 2022 title holders. Playing a final meant that no key players were rested so the pretty much the same starting lineup is expected against the Citizens. Two exceptions are that Modric should replace Aurélien Tchouaméni in midfield while Rudiger will likely replace the suspended Eder Militao.
Nathan Ake was always doubt for MD-11 after pulling a hamstring during the 2-1 win over Leeds this weekend, but his absence from the the traveling squad for Madrid now confirms that he will miss out. The 21 man squad includes Cole Palmer as the young striker returns from injury. Guardiola has been more predictable with the starting lineup this season and most recently he stuck to a 3-4-2-1 formation (replacing Ake with Walker) including Ederson, Akanji, Ruben Dias, Walker, Stones, Rodri, Bernardo, Grealish, De Bruyne, Gundogan, and Haaland.
AC Milan may have lost one of their most important players at least for the first leg against Inter Milan. Winger Rafael Leao limped off the pitch 11 minutes into the weekend match against Lazio. His availability is doubtful but even he does pass fit, the player is one of the most talked about players in Italy with speculations of his anticipated summer departure. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sidelined with a re-occurring injury but may also be sitting on the bench for motivation purposes. Milan rested Brahim Diaz over the weekend so he is expected to return to his right wing position over Junior Messias, while Saelemaekers will probably play on the left wing if Leao does not make the starting lineup. Both players should flank playmaker Bennacer behind Olivier Giroud.
The blue side of Milan is enjoying the return of Lukaku to his best form after a season filled with injuries. Inter also had a hint of Robin Gosen’s attacking impact from the left back position recently, but he dislocated a shoulder while scoring a goal two weeks ago. He will miss the first leg against Inter but may be available to return ahead of the second leg. Skriniar and Dalbert remain the long term absentees for Inzaghi. Unless the manager is planning a surprise, the following players should make the starting XI: Onana, Bastoni, Acerbi, Darmain, Dimarco, Hakan, Brozovic, Barella, Dumfries, Lukaku, and Martinez.
Confirmed Lineups (TUESDAY)
Real Madrid: Courtois, Camavinga, Alaba, Rudiger, Carvajal, Valverde, Kroos, Modric, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Benzema
Manchester City: Ederson, Dias, Akanji, Walker, Grealish, Stones, Rodri, B. Silva, Gundo, KDB, Haaland
Confirmed Lineups (WEDNESDAY; will be published as soon as available)
AC Milan: Maignan, Theo, Tomori, Kjaer, Calabria, Tonali, Krunic, Bennacer, Saelemaekers, Brahim, Giroud
Inter Milan: Onana, Bastoni, Acerbi, Darmian, Dimarco, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dumfries, Dzeko, Martinez
Keep an eye on the comments section for any late updates and be aware that lineups for the Real Madrid vs Manchester City will be released about an hour before today’s fantasy transfer deadline at 19:00 GMT.
We’ll post those team sheets here in time for you to make transfers and substitutions, just like we will on every game day. Make sure you’re here for that!
Good luck everyone and I’ll see you in the Comments!
How is your team shaping up? Has your squad been hit by injuries to any players? Do you have any tactical questions? Which matches do you plan/wish to watch as a fan? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!