Manchester City might’ve just pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent Champions League memory. After Chelsea’s big win in the 2011-12 season, we haven’t really seen any real irregularities in the competition in terms of results. Of course, Wolfsburg came close, but since they were thrashed at home by Real, their result did not have any actual value other than that from the moral aspect of things.
What struck me as odd, however, is the similarity of Man City’s results to that of Chelsea when they beat Barcelona in the semi-final in that historic season. If you remember, Chelsea also won their home game by a goal to nil, and then drew 2-2 away at the Camp Nou to progress. Flip the order and the rival, and you’ve got Man City’s results against PSG. Sometimes I feel as if Heaven likes to toy with our minds.
And that’s not even the biggest one of my issues. If this does become a season of glory for Manchester City, it couldn’t have been more perfectly poised, as the manager Pellegrini is set to depart at the start of the summer for Guardiola to take over. Sound familiar?
This is the exact same circumstance under which the Spanish manager arrived at the Bavarian capital, with Jupp Heynckes winning the treble during his last season at the club. Not to mention the fact that Guardiola failed to win Europe’s elite tournament (unless they do it this year) after the takeover, the thing he was supposedly hired to do.
From Pellegrini’s perspective, this all fits into his C.V. perfectly, as this feat, should he achieve it, would mean that there will be even more highly qualified suitors that will be begging for his services at the end of the season.
For Man City, though, only God knows what’s going to happen. Is Guardiola going to satisfy the City faithful with only the league and domestic cup trophies?
Or is he going to take this club truly to the next level and affirm their position as one of Europe’s so-called ‘Elites’?
From his job at Bayern, it can be said that he will do both. While it’s true that the Bundesliga giants haven’t won the Champions League under their tactical masterclass of a manager, it’s also true that Guardiola has improved this team significantly, as well as instilling the future of the club for years to come.
The likes of Kingsley Coman, Thiago Alcântara, and Joshua Kimmich are the future of the Bavarian giants, and hopefully, will have a telling impact in that prospect.
Turning our heads to English football, it is the first time since 2013/14 that a club from its top division has made it to the semifinals of the Champions League and even further back when 2 teams from the top tier of English football were in it. The ‘lone-wolf’ duty has fallen this time to Man City, and so far, they’ve been able to avoid their hoodoo when comes to this competition.
During their games against PSG, the Blues of Manchester looked more mature and disciplined than what we’ve seen from them in prior years, particularly, it must be mentioned, the defensive performance from them was very impressive. And what made the performances even more resounding was the absence of Vincent Kompany from both. After all, no one expected Eliaquim Mangala to maintain his defensive shape, alongside the new summer arrival Nicolas Otamendi.
If this oddity continues, we might be in for a heck of a ride.