Can this be Manchester City’s year for the Champions League? Yes.
I’ve never fancied City to win the CL more than I do this year. City have definitely endured some agonising luck down the years since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover. But watching the manor in which they dispatched of Real Madrid in their 2 -1 victory (4-2 agg) was super impressive.
Some people will say City caught Real Madrid on a good day but having watched the game it was clear that this was not the case. They just didn’t let Madrid breathe. Both the goals RM conceded came from errors by world class players, which were forced by City’s pressing. They was relentless from start to finish with some of the attacking play dazzling at times. It could have been 5 or 6 on the night for City had their finishing been more ruthless.
City players walked off the pitch at the Etihad last night to be greeted by the the news that Lyon managed to overcome Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus. They will no longer have this giant trying to block their path to European Glory in the final-eight in Lisbon next week. Guardiola will know that his side cannot be complacent against Lyon however, as they are a dangerous outfit with some great players in Memphis Depay and Houssem Aouar.
“It is one step,” Guardiola said. “If we think that is enough, we will show how small we are. If you want to win, you have to beat the big clubs, but we are here to try and win the Champions League”.
It is clear to see from this that their manager is challenging them to be professional and to see the job through. Pep’s a wounded animal after the year City have had domestically and knows people will forget that very quickly if he delivers Manchester City their first CL title. By knocking out the 13 times winners last night in that manner, and handing Zidane a first knockout defeat in the competition after 12 straight victorious ties, City have now set the standard for how to approach the rest of this CL mini tournament.
After beating Real, City are just three wins from lifting the Champions League trophy. There are no two legged ties left this year as the format has been changed due to Covid 19. For this very reason it makes City my favourites for this years CL.
Pep Guardiola has his players so well drilled, with their high tempo pressing and breathless forward movement that they have the armoury to blow teams away in one off games. You’d much rather this format if you was Pep. Two legged match ups can be very tricky to navigate yourself through as you have to take into consideration the away goal rule which can be a killer. Teams often change their playing style or blueprint to account for these scenarios tending to play more defensively at home in order to ensure they do not concede an away goal. So this is huge advantage for City to not have to deal with in their quest for glory.
So can 2020 be the year that COVID 19 pissed all over but Manchester City hit the big time? I think so, but we will have to wait and see. Their next game is Saturday 15th August at 8:00pm UK time. Don’t miss it were in for a treat!
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