Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will take some stopping in their pursuit of Europe’s elite club competition this season. The Sky Blues, currently 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, have been a class above their domestic rivals for most of the campaign and it would take a brave man to back against City at this moment in time.
With the Carabao Cup already safe and secure in the Etihad Stadium trophy room, City now turns their attention to the Champions League. The Blues will want to win the domestic title in front of their own fans against Manchester United in April – still a distinct possibility as of March 22nd. Focusing on their European commitments may be the best option now as Pep’s men look to add to their haul of silverware.
Offensively, City is stacked with talent. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are both capable of leading the line while Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and Leroy Sane all offer varying qualities in the final third. Throw David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne into the mix, and you have the blueprint for a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool stands in the way of Pep’s side and a place in the semi-finals. The Reds, the only top-flight club to defeat City in 2017/18, will be quietly confident of picking up a positive result in the first leg at Anfield. Another memorable European night beckons on Merseyside and City may find themselves up against it – Jurgen Klopp will have his side fired up for that clash.
At the time of writing, William Hill have City at 10/3 to go on and win the competition. That is a decent price considering their strength in depth; getting past Liverpool will be tricky but you’d fancy the Blues to come out on top over two legs. Remember, Pep’s men put five past a hapless Reds defence earlier this season and City are always confident of getting the job done on home soil.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) March 19, 2018
Defensively, City has steadied the ship in recent months. Ederson Moraes and Kyle Walker have been simply sublime this campaign, and both men will be key to City’s success for many years to come. There were plenty of raised eyebrows when Pep pushed to sign Walker for £50 million, but that decision was inspired. He has been a revelation at City, and he is easily the best full-back in the Premier League.
A balanced squad is a key to European success, and this City squad certainly fits the bill. In fact, the Blues tick most boxes on a Champions League checklist – question marks remain over a few of their main rivals. Bayern Munich has a tendency to choke at the business end of the competition while Juventus have failed to get over the line in each of the last two years. It could be City’s time to shine on the big stage…
Manchester City is on the verge of something special, and Pep Guardiola will be targeting a dynasty era at the club. The Etihad Stadium faithful know that the Premier League title will be heading back to Manchester but the first triumph in Europe’s elite club competition would be a real treat for City’s loyal supporters. Perhaps only Barcelona stand in their way of Champions League glory this season.