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3 Reasons Why: Manchester City are a great bet for Champions League glory

Dean Carr 6 Mar 2018
BASEL, BASEL-STADT - FEBRUARY 13: Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his sides fourth goal with Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between FC Basel and Manchester City at St. Jakob-Park on February 13, 2018 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

With the Premier League title all but wrapped up with nine games of the Premier League season to go, Manchester City’s main focus will now be the Champions League as Pep Guardiola’s men go in search of a historic treble.

The 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday maintained their 16-point advantage at the top of the table, meaning they would now have to lose SIX of their last nine games for any team to have a chance of catching them and they could claim the title in their next four games.

Their dominance hasn’t just been felt in England, but also the Champions League, where City have won six of their seven games - losing away to Shakhtar in their final group game after already qualifying for the knockout stages.

City’s place in the quarter-finals is virtually guaranteed after beating Basel 4-0 in the first leg of their last 16 tie and here’s three reasons why they are the best bet to claim Europe’s top prize come the end of the season.

1. Guardiola has been there and done it

One of the most decorated managers in the history of European football, Pep Guardiola is a two-time winner of the Champions League, doing so with his famous Barcelona teams in 2009 and 2011. This City team may not be on a par with that side which featured Xavi, Iniesta and Messi, but Guardiola has assembled what is one of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen. Though he failed to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich, reaching three consecutive semi-finals in Germany before being eliminated, few managers have ever been able to consistently reach the latter stages of the competition and he will be well used to the pressures it brings.

2. City have a chip on their shoulder

It may seem strange to say given their current dominance in the Premier League this season, but Manchester City will have a chip on their shoulder after the manner of their elimination from the competition last season. City led 5-3 heading into the second leg of their last 16 clash with eventual Ligue 1 champions Monaco and looked set to progress with 20 minutes to play when Leroy Sane put them 6-5 up on aggregate. However, Tiemoue Bakayoko’s strike saw Guardiola’s team crash out prematurely, leaving Guardiola trophyless in his first season. City responded by raiding Monaco for Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva and are in no jeopardy of not making the quarter-finals this time around.

3. Few teams can compete with their firepower

In terms of attacking options, there aren’t many teams in Europe that boast the quality and quantity of options available to Guardiola, who is spoilt for choice both in midfield and attack. In central midfield, he has the pick of Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, wide options of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva and not to mention two strikers of the highest quality in Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. City have scored 83 goals in 29 league games so far, 16 more than any other side, as well as having the best defensive record in the Premier League. The strength of their squad is surreal and is arguably the deepest of the sides left in the competition.

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3 Reasons Why: Manchester City are a great bet for Champions League glory

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