Champions League titles have to be earned, they aren’t given, but even Pep Guardiola must be wondering what Man City have to do to not win the trophy this year.
The Premier League giants are clearly the best footballing side left in the competition, and after seeing Internazionale’s 2-0 win over rivals Milan on Wednesday, City should be licking their lips at the prospect of playing either Serie A giant if they overcome Real Madrid in the second leg of their semi-final.
At this point, Pep Guardiola won’t have a better chance to get his hands on a trophy that he last won back in 2011 at Wembley when his Barcelona side completely dominated Man United in what arguably has been the most one-sided final to date.
That could even be surpassed if City make it to this season’s showpiece because neither Milan side will hold any fears whatsoever for the Premier League champions-elect.
The Italian giants are too slow in transitions and nervous at the back, precisely what you don’t want to be against a counter-attacking side par excellence, and one that has Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland bearing down on you at pace.
For now, their focus has to turn to what could be a tough trip to Goodison Park against an Everton side that completely dismantled Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.
2/9 – Real Madrid have progressed from just two of their nine UEFA Champions League knockout stage ties when failing to win the first leg at home – both of these were against Manchester United (1999-00 and 2012-13). Omen? pic.twitter.com/PxpjJ7o6MA
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 9, 2023
Then there is the small matter of overcoming Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League holders at the Etihad Stadium next Wednesday, before thoughts can potentially turn to the final.
History is on their side, however, as Los Blancos have won just two of nine knockout ties when they’ve not won the first leg at home.
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