This is a guest post by Graham Tower.
City’s emphatic 5-1 defeat of Huddersfield on Wednesday leaves Pep Guardiola with the possibility of winning the FA Cup, league title and Champions League in his first season but what are the odds?
Mike Summerbee was adamant after the FA Cup replay that the Premier League is far from decided and went to pains to remind BBC viewers that the club also remains in the running for European glory.
On the domestic front, Chelsea are red hot favourites to win the title. Antonio Conte’s side is eleven points clear as City head to Wearside for a clash with bottom of the table Sunderland. With City’s defence continuing to come in for criticism, the odds to overtake Chelsea for the title are a risky 10/1 and another option is to use match betting software for a safer way to bet on the Blues.
Newcastle United famously relinquished a 12-point lead in 1996 but the likelihood of Chelsea’s experienced and well-drilled unit imploding in the manner of Kevin Keegan’s flamboyant side would seem highly unlikely to all but the most optimistic Blues’ fans.
Despite Summerbee’s confidence, the title may be a task too far for Pep Guardiola this term. According to the bookies, the FA Cup looks the bet for silverware with City 3/1 favourite even though Arsenal and Tottenham have plum draws against lower league sides in the next week’s quarter-finals. City face a trip to Teeside to take on lowly Middlesbrough who may well be more concerned about Premier League survival than a trip to Wembley. The other quarter-final features Chelsea and Manchester United so at least one main danger will fall by the wayside.
City go to Monaco for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 fixture where the Blues are 2/9 to qualify after taking a 5-3 lead at the Etihad. It’s by no means a forgone conclusion as the Ligue 1 leaders have a formidable home record this season. Bayern, Real Madrid, Juventus, PSG and Atletico Madrid are rated ahead of 10/1 City but PSG’s rout of Barcelona shows why we should never write off the chances of the underdog.
Qualification for next season’s Champion’s league looks promising and bookmakers agree, offering 2/9 City to finish in the top 4. However, a look at the Premier League table tells us the race remains wide open, Tottenham went above Pep’s men following the 4-0 win over Stoke on Sunday and may have rediscovered their form after a recent blip.
Arsenal remain in touch and have a habit of finishing strongly while United’s form over the last 10 games means they cannot be discounted. The bookmakers haven’t ruled out Liverpool at even money but Jurgen Klopp is struggling to find consistency with his squad.
In the bookmakers assessment, the odds remain against Pep winning silverware in his first season at the helm, City are 13/8 to win a trophy and 4/9 to finish the season empty handed.