Arsene Wenger has explained why he thinks Manchester City will have ‘a little advantage’ over Real Madrid in their Champions League clash, though it is not down to red-hot striker Erling Haaland.
City put themselves in a great position to reach the Champions League’s last four when they beat Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg at the Etihad. That meant Bayen would have to have been at their absolute best to turn the quarter-final tie around in Germany.
In an eventful second leg, Dayot Upamecano was briefly sent off before immediately being reinstated by the referee, while Haaland shockingly missed a penalty.
However, City’s talisman did get his goal in the 57th minute. Pep Guardiola’s side caught their opponents on the break and Kevin de Bruyne played in Haaland, who benefitted from Upamecano slipping before firing past Bayern keeper Yann Sommer.
Bayern did get a goal back when Joshua Kimmich scored from the penalty spot after a bizarre handball decision against Manuel Akanji, but it was not enough as the game ended 1-1, handing City a 4-1 aggregate victory.
City will face reigning champions Real Madrid in the last four, while Inter Milan have set up an intriguing derby with AC Milan in the other semi-final.
During an appearance on beIN Sports (via the Daily Mirror), legendary former Arsenal boss Wenger provided one reason why City can be confident heading into the next round, with Haaland not named.
“It [the final] is in Istanbul that’s what I can say, that’s what everybody knows. I would say at the moment, I would give Milan a little advantage and City a little advantage because of their defensively stability,” Wenger declared.
Real Madrid are ‘vulnerable’ – Arsene Wenger
“Maybe Real Madrid is a bit more vulnerable defensively. But Real Madrid is Real Madrid, they can score against anybody. And that’s why this is very open.”
As Wenger points out, Real are always a threat due to them having world-class stars such as Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Luka Modric. However, City should still fancy their chances as they are in blistering form.
Jack Grealish, who has enjoyed a great second season at City, should be able to get past Real right-back Dani Carvajal, while Haaland will be looking to dominate centre-backs David Alaba and Eder Militao.
City are partway through a crucial week in their pursuit of the treble. After overcoming the first test in Bayern, they must now turn their attention to an FA Cup semi-final against Championship high-flyers Sheffield United.
Then, City host title rivals Arsenal at the Etihad in a mouth-watering midweek clash. With City currently four points behind the Gunners and benefitting from a game in hand, the match could decide who lifts the Premier League crown.