Since the inaugural tournament kicked off in 1955, 22 teams have won the Champions League at least once. The current holders of the competition are Real Madrid who are also the most successful team to compete in it.
Although there are quite a few teams competing who have won the competition, there are others which haven’t. One of these clubs is Manchester City. However, this could all be about to change.
The Manchester-based team are one of the favourites according to the Champions League winner odds, and for good reason. Here’s four reasons why Manchester City will win the Champions League this season.
With the league games, two cup competitions, and the Champions League, the season schedule can be very hectic for the top teams, especially when they make it to the final stages of the competition. Any team that plays in the Premier League and makes it to the final of each competition will play around 63 games a season, assuming they don’t play any replay games in the FA Cup.
With this long, tough schedule where teams are likely to play two games a week, having good squad depth is essential. Fortunately for City, this is an area where they excel. It isn’t unusual to see stars like Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling on the bench at times, Guardiola is able to rotate his squad without the overall quality of players declining.
Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club in 2008, City have been hiring managers who prioritise attacking play. Former manager Manuel Pellegrini got his City team scoring during his time at the club, and Guardiola has continued with this attacking style whilst adding his own tactical philosophy. His City side scored 143 goals last season, and they’ve continued their goal scoring form this season, scoring 40 goals in only 13 league games.
Only Liverpool have managed to stop City from scoring this season. If City continue finding the back of the net at will, then it’s a safe bet they’ll make it very far this year.
Even though Manchester City have the strongest squad in the Premier League, they refused to stand still this summer and invested £60 million in Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian was one of Leicester City’s best players during his four year spell at the club and was instrumental in their shock Premier League title win back in the 2015-16 season. Even though the club is already stacked with players in the attacking position, the arrival of Mahrez has brought a different dimension to City’s already deadly attack.
Any club that has aspirations of winning the Champions League needs to have a world class manager in charge, and City have that in Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard is one of the most decorated managers in football having won 24 major honours, including two Champions League trophies. Although his last Champions League title was seven years ago, the City manager knows what it takes to win the competition.
Since becoming the first team manager of Barcelona back in 2008, Guardiola has competed in the Champions League every season and enjoyed great success. As well as his two wins, Guardiola has often led his team to the semi-finals of the competition at a minimum. His spell at City has been less successful in the Champions League, but he did manage to achieve a quarter-final finish last season.
Although the club have failed to live up to expectations Europe’s biggest competition in the past few seasons, it is widely expected that they’ll put up a real fight for the trophy this year. The team is even stronger than it was last year, and another year of playtime under Guardiola can only be a good thing for the players.