Man City the team to beat in the Cham­pi­ons League

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

PEP Guardi­ola will over­see of his first Cham­pi­ons League group game as Manch­ester City man­ager to­day when Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach visit the Eti­had Sta­dium in Group C.

Here are five rea­sons why City could win the Cham­pi­ons League this sea­son.

1. They’ve got Guardi­ola City fi­nally landed Guardi­ola af­ter court­ing him over four years, and the club’s fans have been un­able to con­tain their glee. He al­ready has his own chant – “Cause we’ve got (clap, clap) Guardi­ola!” to the tune of “Glad All Over” by the Dave Clark Five – and City’s fans sang it long and loud af­ter their 2-1 derby win at Manch­ester United on Septem­ber 10. Guardi­ola’s chief mis­sion is to bring the Premier League ti­tle back to the Eti­had, but he is also ex­pected to take City to the next level in Europe. He won two Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles in four years with Barcelona and will be des­per­ate to make his mark on the com­pe­ti­tion again af­ter three suc­ces­sive semi-fi­nal ex­its with Bay­ern Mu­nich. 2. They’re Eng­land’s form team Guardi­ola did his best to tem­per ex­pec­ta­tions af­ter City’s derby win, but there has been no dis­guis­ing their im­pres­sive form over the first month of his ten­ure. They have won their first four Premier League games – beat­ing Sun­der­land (2-1), Stoke City (4-1), West Ham United (3-1) and Manch­ester United (2-1) – and crushed Steaua Bucharest 6-0 on ag­gre­gate in the Cham­pi­ons League play-off round. Some of their foot­ball, par­tic­u­larly in the first half against United, has been sparkling.

3. They broke new ground last sea­son The lav­ish in­vest­ment made by City’s ma­jor­ity owner Sheikh Man­sour has yielded two Premier League ti­tles, two League Cups and one FA Cup, but it is in Europe that he hungers to see the team suc­ceed. Prior to last sea­son, City had never gone be­yond the Cham­pi­ons League last-16, but in an un­ex­pected flour­ish un­der out­go­ing man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini, they made it to the semi-fi­nals. City over­came a dan­ger­ous Paris Sain­tGer­main team in the quar­ter-fi­nals and nar­rowly lost 1-0 on ag­gre­gate to even­tual cham­pi­ons Real Madrid in the last four. Pre­vi­ously seen as cal­low con­ti­nen­tal cam­paign­ers, City now know what it takes to win knock­out-phase matches against elite op­po­nents. 4. They have a team full of match­win­ners Guardi­ola in­her­ited a squad packed with cre­ative tal­ent in the shape of David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ra­heem Ster­ling and Ser­gio Aguero, which has been sup­ple­mented by the sign­ings of Nolito and Leroy Sane. Their 17 goals this sea­son have been scored by eight dif­fer­ent play­ers, plus one own goal. Aguero al­ready has six and when sus­pen­sion ruled him out of the derby, De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheana­cho stepped up to the plate with a goal apiece. Nolito has set­tled quickly fol­low­ing his move from Celta Vigo, while Ster­ling ap­pears re­born and was named the Premier League’s Player of the Month for Au­gust. –

5. They will be bat­tle-hard­ened The Cham­pi­ons League group-stage draw used to hold all kinds of fears for City, who failed to make it past the first hur­dle in their first two sea­sons in the com­pe­ti­tion. But they won their group last sea­son, fin­ish­ing above Ju­ven­tus, the pre­vi­ous cam­paign’s beaten fi­nal­ists, even­tual Europa League cham­pi­ons Sevilla and to­day’s op­po­nents Glad­bach. This sea­son’s group also fea­tures Barcelona – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ney­mar and the rest – and Scot­tish cham­pi­ons Celtic. Barcelona will pro­vide a stern test and the matches against Celtic are likely to be stormy af­fairs, but should City emerge from the group, they will al­ready be on their met­tle. –

Photo: AFP

Manch­ester City mid­fielder Fer­nand­inho (left), de­fender John Stones (sec­ond left), mid­fielder Ra­heem Ster­ling (sec­ond right) and goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo cel­e­brate af­ter their 2-1 “derby” vic­tory over Manch­ester City on Septem­ber 10.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.