When Pep Guardiola was hired by Manchester City in 2016, the appointment was made to help the club in their attempts to win the Champions League. The Spaniard had been successful twice as a manager with Barcelona so, in theory, he had the perfect CV. However, so far under Guardiola, City have failed in five different campaigns under their current boss. The closest they have gotten to the trophy came last season, where they were beaten in the final by Chelsea 0-1 in Porto.
According to the outright football markets, the reigning Premier League champions are currently the favorites in the betting at +350 to lift the trophy in May. They currently lead their group, which features one of their strongest rivals in the competition, PSG.
Manchester City have won three of their opening four matches in the 2021/2022 campaign. They impressively hammered Belgium’s Club Brugge 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium, while they also defeated RB Leipzig 6-3 in a highly entertaining game in front of their home supporters.
Only Bayern Munich have scored more goals than Manchester City through those four games in the Champions League this season. Promisingly, City’s attack is looking very strong domestically and in Europe.
Domestic Rivals Have Been City’s Thorn
In three of the last four seasons, Manchester City have been eliminated by fellow Premier League rivals in the Champions League. For example, in the 2017/2018 campaign, Liverpool put Guardiola’s side out in the quarter-final as they came out on top 5-1 over the two legs.
In the 2018/2019 season, it was Tottenham who defeated City in the last eight. Spurs went through on away goals after it finished 4-4 at the end of the second leg. City thought they had snatched the victory late on in that second game, but their goal was disallowed following a review by VAR.
Arguably the English club’s most surprising defeat in the knockout stages of the Champions League in the Guardiola era came against French side Lyon. City were heavy favorites to progress, but they lost 1-3 in a single tie against the Ligue 1 club.
After beating Dortmund and then PSG in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively last season, City thought they were set for their maiden trophy. However, they were unable to defeat Chelsea, who finished 19 points behind them in the Premier League campaign.
Guardiola Running Out of Chances
Guardiola has already announced that he plans to leave Manchester City when his contract expires in 2023. If the Spaniard sticks with that decision, it means he will have just two more chances to win the Champions League, this season and the next.
The English clubs seem to be outperforming their European rivals in the Champions League at the moment. Two of the last three winners have come from the Premier League and an English club has also made the final in three of the last four years.
On paper, City have one of the strongest teams in the Champions League. If they can avoid injuries, their supporters will be confident that their wait for the major trophy will end in May.