The draw for the Champions League takes place on Thursday, and as champions, City find themselves in Pot 1 for the first time. Ilkay Gundogan has said that the blues have the maturity to win it, despite being knocked out at the quarter final stage last season. Is he right? Can the blues finally lift the trophy?
City’s record in the competition is a good one. Their participation in the 2011/12 season, their first in the competition, City won three out of six games and took 10 points. In six of the other groups that season, 10 points would have been enough to send the blues through to the knockout stage. The next season, City didn’t fare so well, as they failed to record a single win.
Under Manuel Pellegrini, the blues won five of their six matches and only lost one as they cruised into the last 16 alongside Bayern Munich, where they were beaten 4-1 on aggregate by Barcelona. A year later and it was the same two progressing again, but this time City only won two matches, but it was enough to stave off the challenge from Roma. Once again though, Barcelona ended blue hopes in the last 16.
In Pellegrini’s final season, despite losing twice to Juventus, the blues topped the group for the first time and also made it to the semi-final, knocking Dynamo Kyiv and PSG out, before losing 1-0 to Real Madrid. It is the closest City have ever come to reaching the final, and even Pep Guardiola is struggling to reach Pellegrini’s heights.
Pep’s City finished 6 points behind his old club Barcelona, but inflicted the only defeat in the group stage when City beat the Spaniards 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium. But City lost out to Monaco on away goals after the tie ended 6-6! And Last season, the blues cruised through to the last 16, wining five and losing one. City then beat Basel 5-2 on aggregate, winning the away leg 4-0 before losing the home tie 2-1. We don’t need reminding about the team that knocked us out in the quarter final though!
Overall, City have Won 21 Champions League matches, drawn 9 and lost 12, and this season, the blues will avoid the likes of Barcelona, Real and Atletico, Bayern Munich, PSG and Juventus, but will face one of either Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Shakhtar, Napoli or Roma from pot 2. Qualification from the group is a must, and Pep and the team should go into this season’s competition with confidence. But could they win the thing outright?
It’s no secret that City’s owners, ADUG have made the Champions League their number one priority. Roberto Mancini’s failings in the competition played a huge factor in his dismissal, as well as the FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan, which is why Pellegrini was brought in. The Chilean had taken an unfashionable Malaga side to the top of Group C, winning and drawing three of their six games, before knocking Porto out in the last 16, only to succumb to Dortmund in the quarter final. It was enough for the City hierarchy to employ Pellegrini and he almost achieved the club’s dream in his final season.
Now that mantle is firmly with Guardiola. Having won all but four league games prior to the quarter final and also claiming the League Cup, the blues fell to their Premier League opponents not once, but twice as the dream of winning the Champions League fell away for another year.
City didn’t invest heavily in the transfer market over the summer, with just the addition of Riyad Mahrez being the major signing. It is an indication that Guardiola has complete faith in his record-breaking squad and a belief that Champions League success is imminent.
So will Manchester City win the Champions League this season? Let us know in the poll
Will Manchester City win the Champions League this season?
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