Editorial

Will 2022/23 Be the Season When Manchester City Finally Conquer Europe?

With his contract set to run out in the summer of 2023, this could be Pep Guardiola’s last chance to bring continental glory to Manchester City.

The popular Spaniard has dropped hints that he could extend his current deal, but as a head coach with a habit of leaving his previous clubs at the height of their success, the insinuation is that Pep could leave the Cityzens at the end of the campaign.

For all the silverware-laden glory that he has brought to the club domestically, the Champions League is a trophy that continues to elude Guardiola and his players – frustrating the club’s Middle Eastern owners, who have pumped billions (literally) into turning City into a worldwide force in football.

The bookmakers believe there’s a chance that City could end their continental hoodoo in 2022/23, with 11/4 the best price available to those who bet on Champions League with Paddy Power – making them the market favourites ahead of Liverpool, PSG and Bayern Munich.

But this isn’t the first time that Pep’s players have been fancied to hoist the trophy, so will this season be any different to those that have gone before?

The Long Road to Glory

Since Guardiola took over at City in 2016, they have progressed beyond the group phase of the Champions League in each and every season.

But only one appearance in the final is a fairly mediocre return from a head coach who has spent more than £1 billion in transfer fees after bringing in Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips in the summer.

The 2021 final, in which City were downed by Chelsea in Porto, was by far and away the best chance Pep has had of winning the Champions League in Manchester, and yet he was outwitted on the night tactically by opposite number Thomas Tuchel, who would also mastermind the Blues’ FA Cup semi-final victory over the Cityzens in the very same year.

Although they continue to dominate domestically, the fact that City have only had that one chance of winning the continent’s premier competition will be eating away at Guardiola, who knows he may only have one more chance of prevailing in the Champions League – ironically, we might even wonder how long the club’s owners will be satisfied to keep giving him chances of achieving their ultimate objective.

Pep will be hoping that the signing of Haaland, a striker who averages one goal per game in the competition, will prove to be the missing piece of the jigsaw. But there are still doubts about City’s defensive solidity, while much of their best creative work hinges on the form and fitness of Kevin de Bruyne.

One billion spent and you are still heavily reliant on a couple of players to come up with the goods? It’s a hefty risk to take, and you sense that Guardiola is a man on borrowed time when it comes to bringing European success to the blue half of Manchester.

Related Articles

Back to top button