Tuesday, May 11, 2021
MARKET UPDATE

TheCable

Advertisement
 ON THE GO

Can Man City, PSG win Champions League?

Can Man City, PSG win Champions League?
March 18
20:47 2021

The UEFA Champions League (UCL) reaches its business end and this season looks frightening already based on the calibre and form of most of the clubs still in the running to lift the ‘big ears’.

Advertisement

Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, FC Porto, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea are the remaining teams battling for Europe’s most prestigious club trophy.

Real Madrid are not just the most successful club in the UCL but recently won it in three consecutive seasons, while Chelsea are a formidable force on their own despite not winning since 2012. The Blues however have a knack for springing surprises while PSG’s money yearns for European glory. With Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, the future is bright for the French side despite Mauricio Pochettino’s “outrageous” record as a losing manager in 2019.

Perhaps the most fearsome of the lot are Bayern Munich and Manchester City. It is weird using fearsome to describe Manchester City given they have never tasted UCL glory but in Pep Guardiola they have a former winner. Even though he has not won it since he stopped coaching Lionel Messi, his shrewd approach and results this season show a man — and club — finally ready to break the jinx.

Advertisement

The Cityzens went on an 82-day winning streak — from December 2020 to March 2021 — culminating in the most consecutive league wins by a top-flight team from the start of a calendar year and also breaking the record for most consecutive wins by a top-flight English team in all competitions (21 matches). They also equalled a club record of 28 games unbeaten in all competitions. Pep’s wards have also not lost in this season’s UCL, dropping points only once and winning both legs of their round of 16 ties.

In Ruben Dias, Guardiola has finally solved the defence jigsaw puzzle while displaying a variety of confounding attacking plays that leave the opposition guessing City without much success. Though the Spanish coach called talks of a quadruple of titles nonsense, one would be fooled to think he has not set his sights firmly on breaking the UCL jinx.

While Kevin De Bruyne and his teammates continue to dazzle for City, they do not come close to the imperial nature of Bayern Munich’s style of football. Although leaky in defence, the Bavarians play like Real Madrid’s first Galacticos era but with the classic German ruthlessness.

Advertisement

Hansi Flick’s side completed a clean sweep of six possible trophies with the World Club Cup recently, and it is no soothsayer’s word that FC Hollywood plans to retain the cup it won last season at the expense of big-spending PSG. In Robert Lewandowski, they have a striker who is not only in the form of his life but has mastered the art of goalscoring. While the 32-year-old Polish striker cannot be Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, he certainly has defenders trembling at his sight in recent years and has not failed to deliver.

Lurking is an even bigger reputation of Real Madrid’s experienced side. Zidane’s shrewd tactics, even if underrated by experts, is well complemented by the experience of captain Sergio Ramos, experienced midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro while Karim Benzema continues to carry Los Merengues in the attack. All five were key players in the European triumph — from 2016-2018 — and can dominate any opponent in their own way.

Whatever the outcome of the draws in Switzerland on Friday, the UCL trophy tends to pick its cult members at the end but the megabucks-backed threat of Man City and PSG could finally do the trick this year. Expect more sugar daddies buying clubs next season if that happens.

Advertisement

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment