It wasn’t your conventional Manchester City performance on Sunday afternoon but Pep Guardiola’s men did enough to secure the first major trophy of 2018/19.
The Blues were some way below their usual best, needing a penalty shootout to defeat Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea. Most of the post-match focus has been on the Kepa Arrizabalaga incident but it would be foolish to ignore City’s success. An unprecedented quadruple is well and truly on.
Two weeks prior to the League Cup final, City had dismantled a hapless Chelsea defence at the Etihad Stadium. A 6-0 drubbing sent shockwaves across the top flight and most football fans were expecting a comfortable win for Guardiola’s side at Wembley.
That wasn’t the case though, Chelsea gave an excellent account of themselves for 120 minutes but fell short from 12 yards. Raheem Sterling stepped up with a superb spot-kick under pressure to clinch the victory.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have drawn three of their last four Premier League games and momentum is with City as we enter the business end of the campaign.
Victory over West Ham United on Wednesday will help to maintain the gap to Liverpool – assuming of course that the Reds are able to claim three points at home to Watford.
Klopp will be demanding an improved effort from his side; there is no room for error with City just one point behind in the title race. Pep’s men will be relentless from here on in and most are expecting the defending champions to climb into top spot sooner rather than later.
Claiming that City have one hand on the FA Cup trophy may be a little far-fetched but Pep’s side are well placed to push on and reach the Wembley showpiece.
On paper, this is City’s trophy to lose and perhaps only arch rivals Manchester United can stop Guardiola’s men in their pursuit of glory. With the Red Devils needing to win at Molineux to book their spot in the semi-finals, there is no guarantee that United will be in the draw for the final four.
888sport football betting odds have Manchester City at 17/20 to win the FA Cup this season – an incredible price given their quarter-final draw. Swansea City will want to claim a giant-killing but the Blues are expected to make light work of the Welsh outfit.
Guardiola’s policy of squad rotation has worked well so far this campaign and he is likely to tinker with his side on a game-by-game basis as we edge closer to the end of 2018/19.
At their free-flowing best, Manchester City are a joy to watch. Even the most ardent Red Devils supporter will admit that the Blues are one of the most exciting teams in the world; Guardiola’s take on total football is contagious.
The Champions League is an interesting one. Barring a disaster in the second leg, City will be in the quarter-final draw for the third time in four years.
The Blues showed great resilience to come back from two goals down to defeat Schalke in the first leg of their last-16 clash – and that was after going down to 10 men too. Manchester City look destined to win the Champions League under Pep but will this be their year?
Now clear favourites at 3/1 in sports betting odds for Champions League glory in 2018/19, City have a real chance to lift Europe’s primary club trophy for the first time.
When City announced that Guardiola was taking over at the Etihad, they also stated that the ultimate objective is to win the Champions League. It looks like the stars are aligning for Manchester City to go on and fulfil their destiny under the Spaniard – a favourable quarter-final draw will only enhance their chances.
Manchester City are threatening to rewrite the history books once again. The Blues had to play second fiddle to United for so long but the balance of power in Manchester has shifted in recent years.
This is City’s time to shine and Red Devils fans are having to sit and watch Pep do unbelievable things at the Etihad Stadium. With Guardiola contracted until the end of the 2021/22 campaign, City should continue to dominate and challenge on multiple fronts.
Will Pep’s easy on the eye brand of football prevail? You’d be hard pressed to argue against Manchester City at this moment in time. Like Ferguson was during his tenure across the city, Guardiola is a notorious winner and he will not allow the Blues to let up.
888sport football specials have Manchester City at 8/1 to go on and win the quadruple this season. Pipping Liverpool to the domestic title is going to be tough but Guardiola gives the Blues a clear edge over Klopp.
Last year’s side was the best Premier League team ever in terms of points but winning the quadruple would undoubtedly eclipse that achievement. Heck, it might even be enough to label this Manchester City team as the greatest English club side of all-time.