It is rare thing that fans of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur unite, however all of the aforementioned fans, crossed their fingers, prayed to the big guy in the sky and sold their soul in hope that Manchester City wouldn’t be able to ‘buy’ a top four finish. However credit, where credits due, Manchester City did exceptionally well in achieving third place and avoiding that dreaded Champions League qualifier. So that’s the first stage complete, but the real challenge is yet to come for the guys on Eastlands, will they have a Tottenham Hotspur style debut season or will they bow out without even a whimper?
It is a hard, physical and competitive season in the league alone before you consider cup competitions, that is why a strong in depth squad is a necessity in today’s beautiful game, something which isn’t an issue for City. Even if many of the players are rumoured to be on the move this summer, as things stand they are still City players, upfront there are Roque Santa Cruz, Jo, Felipe Caicedo and Craig Bellamy and that’s even before you consider Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli. Manchester City are overloaded with players in all positions, and with rumours linking all of football’s current greats with the Manchester outfit, they hold a squad more than capable of succeeding in club football’s greatest competition.
Champions League football is played at a very different pace and style to Premier League football. Domestic football in England is fast, quick and highly entertaining and with all due respect to Robert Mancini’s side and set up, this isn’t their style of play, yes, of course they can play like the English Premier League stereotype but with the two defensive midfielders’ they were always going to have Mancini’s Italian defensive influence within their play. A more defensive approach is taken by the majority of teams in the Champions League, meaning City can play to their usual formation, tempo and style.
The one doubt in my mind over Man City’s ability to succeed in next seasons Champions League is their abysmal showing in this season’s Europa League. Poor performances and results against the likes of Lech Poznan and Dynamo Kyiv, were a clear example that Mancini’s side just weren’t ready for the challenge of Europe. Europa League is seen as a second rate and inconvenient tournament but until City begin regularly qualifying for the Champions League, they should be given the competition their best shot, especially with many believing at the beginning of the season that, the Europa League was their main chance at silverware.
The beauty of the Champions League is anything is possible, no one expected Rubin Kazan to ever take points off Barcelona or Tottenham Hotspur to reach the Quarter Finals. The jury is still out on what the expectations of Manchester City will be in next season’s competition but anything is possible.
How far do you think City will go?