Real Madrid ‘studied Arsenal tactics’ to help eliminate Manchester City from Champions League

Real Madrid have reached the Champions League semi final after beating Manchester City on penalties (Getty)

Real Madrid’s coaching staff used Arsenal’s blueprint to help eliminate Manchester City from the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

After a 3-3 draw in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu last week, Madrid produced a solid defensive display in the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium and following a 1-1 draw plus extra time, Carlo Ancelotti’s side beat City on penalties to set up a Champions League semi-final tie against Bayern Munich.

Arsenal, meanwhile, crashed out of Europe as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Bayern at the Allianz Arena.

However, in preparation for their second leg against City this week, Madrid’s backroom team used Arsenal as their inspiration to help nullify the threat posed by Pep Guardiola’s side.

According to Marca, Madrid’s assistant coach, Davide Ancelotti, who is Carlo’s son, was responsible for providing pre-match analysis of City and identifying potential solutions for the team’s visit to the Etihad.

The report claims that Davide Ancelotti used Arsenal’s goalless draw against City on March 31 as a major reference point, with Federico Valverde, Dani Carvajal, Vinicius Junior, Nacho, Ferland Mendy and even Jude Bellingham given similar defensive instructions to the ones Arsenal’s players carried out at the Etihad last month.

Real Madrid used Arsenal’s goalless draw against Man City as their defensive blueprint (PA)

Asked if he was surprised by Madrid’s defensive approach, Guardiola said after the game: ‘I don’t judge.

‘We’ve found that type of opponent in the past. Some teams are more open, some play a lower block. They know it’s a difficult ground to come to and they’ve tried. We really pushed them, particularly in the second half.

‘We were on the edge of the box and had lots of shots from outside the area, but we weren’t able to achieve it. We did everything we could but in the end Madrid go through and we don’t.’

However, City midfielder Rodri was more scathing of Madrid’s tactics at the Etihad.

‘To be honest, I’ve only seen one team today,’ Rodri said.

‘We know how tough beating Madrid is, but in my opinion we should have gone through. In the end this is football.

‘We knew the game was going to be long for them, but we didn’t expect that they were going to be so, so far deep [in their half].

‘It is difficult to analyse. We had the feeling that penalties were more convenient for them. It was their turn [to progress] again.

Rodri was critical of Real Madrid’s defensive approach against Man City (Getty)

‘In the penalties, luck was on Madrid’s side, as usual. Real Madrid have these things, they can win a game in which they barely left their own box.

‘We know what we do and we know that this competition does not understand merits, it understands who puts the ball in the back of the net.

‘Their only shot on target they had went in, and we were trailing for most of the game. We have had chances and if we had been more clinical, we would have won the game.

‘In the end this is football. When you have given everything you have no regrets. Now it’s time to lift the boys up and congratulate Real Madrid.’

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