The race is on for the quadruple. After breaking records and making new ones in England last season, Pep Guardiola is gunning for more. Winning the quadruple is usually very difficult to achieve for any club side.
That’s the reason it’s a rare occurrence. But it’s definitely possible. Now in the sixth round of the FA Cup, the final of the League Cup and ready to fight for the Premier League title all the way, silverware is sure to grace the Etihad Stadium trophy cabinet this term. But the biggest of them all remains the Champions League.
Despite the fact that Real Madrid has made winning the Champions League look like a walk in the park in the last three seasons, the competition which is reserved for Europe’s elite clubs remains one of the most difficult to conquer. Clubs like Atletico Madrid and Juventus have been knocking at the door for several years now and have been unable to get their hands on the trophy even after coming so close.
Add to the list Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and the idea becomes clearer. These are sides that have dominated their respective domestic leagues but then realise that success on the continent is a different kettle of fish.
The Liverpool faithful take pride in the fact that the club has won the competition five times before. But they can’t wait for the next. It’s been 14 long years since the club lifted the trophy back in 2005 and another one will be most welcome. Unfortunately, winning it has become a tall order. The aforementioned sides are giving it their best in order to be crowned champions. But only one can so emerge in any given year.
In light of this, what are Man City’s chances of finally landing the biggest prize in European football?
That the Cityzens have not celebrated the big trophy at the Etihad Stadium is not for lack of trying. Since the Abu Dhabi group took charge of affairs at the club, the goal has been to take the club to the next level of success in England and the whole of Europe. Although remarkable success has been achieved in the league and domestic cup competitions, the ultimate prize is yet to be apprehended.
Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini did very well in their time both winning the league title and cups. But the closest the team has come to success on the continent in recent times has been semifinal appearances in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola was sought after not just for playing an attractive brand of football but because he’s also a winner. And when it comes to lifting the Champions League, he’s been there, done that.
So far, he has assembled a team capable of the feat. Beating the competition, which has become tougher in recent times will not be easy. But it can be done. The biggest threat to the mission at the moment remains the aforementioned clubs. The two biggest clubs in Spain Real Madrid and Barcelona now carry the ‘favorites’ tag each and every season. They therefore pose a big threat to Man City as well.
The display against Schalke in the first leg showed the grit and determination necessary to progress in the competition. Winning against all odds even with a man down is good practice for tougher days ahead. The German side has a rich history and has traditionally been a tough side but it’s a shadow of itself this season as poor performance in the Bundesliga and barely squeezing into the round of 16 from a relatively easy group confirm.
The focus for City should be get the job done quickly in the second leg and prepare for the big guns in the later stages. The Sky Blues must be ready to beat any opponent including Barcelona and the experienced holders Madrid in order to end the continental trophy drought.