Can Manchester City win the Champions League?

27 Mar

This is a guest post by Jon Hawkins.

City are set to face Tottenham Hotspur three times in 11 days next month, with the Champions League quarter-finals taking centre-stage before their league meeting at the Etihad Stadium. Those three games could well define and cement hopes of a quadruple-winning season for Pep Guardiola’s boys. In terms of Champions League betting, the Citizens are favourites not only to make the final, but to be outright winners and here we will take a look at their chances.

Head to Head

Statistics show that since their first meeting in the FA Cup in 1909, City have won 61 games to Spurs’ 60 (with 35 games drawn); however, you’d need to go back as far as October 2, 2016 to the last time City were defeated – a 2-0 loss in the Premier League. City last did the double over Tottenham in 2014-15, with a 4-1 victory at the Etihad (and four goals from Sergio Aguero) and a marginal 1-0 win at White Hart Lane (again, Aguero on the scoresheet). City already have the upper-hand this season, beating Spurs at Wembley 1-0 courtesy of Riyad Mahrez’s strike. Despite their recent successes in Europe, the two sides have never met in the Champions League, or any European competition for that matter. City last faced and lost to English opposition in last season’s quarter-finals (5-1 on aggregate against Liverpool); while Spurs last faced English opposition in the 1972-3 UEFA Cup semi-final (losing to Liverpool on away goals).

Form in Europe

City’s last five games: WWWDW
Tottenham’s last five games: WWDWW

Manchester City were rampant in the group stages, topping group F with four wins from six, scoring 16 goals and conceding six. They finished five points ahead of second-place Lyon. Tottenham meanwhile, could only finish second to Barcelona in group B, with two wins, two draws and two defeats from their six games, scoring nine and conceding 10. They finished tied on points with Inter Milan (eight), who went into the Europa League knock-out stages.

In the Round of 16, City continued to dominate and their emphatic 10-2 aggregate win against Schalke proves what a formidable force they can be in the competition. After the first leg, the tie was still in the balance but City’s away goals put them in good stead prior to the second leg. However, the tie wasn’t in any doubt after the first-half, which saw City go in at the break 3-0 up (and 6-2 up on aggregate). The 7-0 victory saw City record their greatest ever European victory and equal the record for the biggest single-leg win in the Champions League. In terms of statistics, not only do City top the table for most goals scored (26), they pose the biggest threat with shots on target (60) and lay claim to the two players with the most assists (Leroy Sané with five and Mahrez, four).

Meanwhile, Tottenham sprung a surprise in their first leg against Borussia Dortmund, winning 3-0 at Wembley before going on to win the reverse fixture 1-0. Their top scorer, Harry Kane is tied on five with the likes of Aguero, Dzeko and Neymar; while there’s no doubt that Spurs pose an attacking threat with 54 corners for, 162 crosses attempted and 46 completed in their games so far.

Battle of the Managers

Guardiola is no stranger to Champions League football, having won the competition twice as boss of Barcelona (2008-09 and 2010-11) and surely has the upper-hand over Mauricio Pochettino who guided the Lilywhites to the Round of 16 last season, their best finish in Europe since 2010-11.


City’s fire-power should surely be enough to topple Spurs, even if the agenda is to retain their Premier League title than win a maiden Champions League final. The semi-final would see a potential clash against Juventus, which could prove difficult.
But Pep has the experience and a strong enough squad to go all the way.

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