What Manchester City Must Do to Beat Real Madrid
Roberto Mancini's men have to secure three points if they want to stand any chance of qualifying from their UEFA Champions League group.
Here are four things the Citizens simply must do if they want to realise that dream.
Enjoy the slideshow!
Erase Any Memory of Joe Hart's Midweek Performance
Roberto Mancini has admitted he trusts Joe Hart, but would drop him if the mistakes continue (via The Telegraph).
This comes off the back of a titanic blunder in England's 4-2 loss to Sweden last week, where the goalkeeper's calamitous attempt at heading the ball out led to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic thunderbolt.
Manchester City need the Hart who won two consecutive Golden Gloves, the Hart who makes fans feel safe and the Hart who played against Borussia Dortmund in October.
A quiet game against Aston Villa may not have done him any favours, in actual fact, but he did produce one superb save to stop Vincent Kompany scoring an own goal.
Interchange and Attack with Pace
Manchester City are capable of dynamic, pacey attacks, which can hurt even the best teams.
However, Roberto Mancini sometimes elects to slow the pace of his side's game plan in order to exert true control over the opposition and manage fitness.
This game is all or nothing, and Real Madrid seriously struggled against Borussia Dortmund when Marco Reus and Mario Gotze turned on the style and interchanged positions quickly.
City have players who can do exactly that in Samir Nasri, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, so Mancini must not hesitate in throwing them forward and causing mayhem.
The game against Aston Villa was easy for the midfield and they weren't required to do much physically. These guys should be fresh and ready to go.
Leave Edin Dzeko on the Bench
Bleacher Report asked statistical gurus WhoScored? to draw up some comparisons between Edin Dzeko's performances as a starter and a substitute.
The results, displayed above, are astounding. When coming off the bench, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has bagged five goals in comparison to one as a member of the first XI.
His impact as a target man is borderline unrivaled at this point in time, and many of his efforts have been critical in Manchester City's season so far.
He scored as a substitute in the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeau last month—would anyone bet against him having a similar impact again if necessary?
Deal with Cristiano Ronaldo
Doesn't that just sound ridiculously obvious?
Levante found a way to deal with him (elbow him until he bleeds), but we're not about to suggest Manchester City resort to the measures Sergio Ballesteros and company did.
The Portuguese forward has failed to score in three of his last four games, representing a rare dry spell in a los Merengues shirt.
Manchester City need to make that four out of five if they want to win this contest.
Statistics and image via WhoScored?