Man City have not won any tournament in 2023, but things are very close for them. Many people will think that in football anything is possible. But seeing how the green half of Manchester has crushed big and small rivals since the beginning of the year, it can be affirmed that there are not many barriers to prevent them from reaching the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup this season.
Arsenal’s 0-3 loss to Brighton is the clearest evidence for the collapse of a talented collective like the “Gunners”, but still inferior to Man City in terms of level. Can Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United do it in the FA Cup final on June 3? Few people dare to believe it, except for the Old Trafford fans.
Since February, Man City has always handled opponents who are underrated or equal to them, from Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool or Bayern Munich. The real worry for Man City fans will come at the Champions League playground, where the “curse” has always pursued Pep Guardiola. However, seeing Inter Milan or AC Milan playing in the remaining semi-finals, these two teams will certainly be underestimated than Man City if they reach the final.
Even after only winning the Premier League, FA Cup and reaching the Champions League final, the praise for Pep is still fully deserved. Not many teams in the history of the world can do that. Therefore, Real Madrid will be the biggest obstacle in the journey of recognition of the coach of Catalonia.
What happened in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League showed that Real Madrid was not bored with Man City, there were even times when “Los Blancos” also overpowered the club. The bravery of a big team like Real Madrid makes them different from the defeats of Man City like Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham or even Bayern Munich.
Antonio Rudiger silenced Erling Haaland in the first leg without making a tackle. Vinicus Jr proved he was a particularly intimidating type of player to Man City’s defence, while Karim Benzema, as usual, remained dangerous. Real Madrid is the opponent that causes the most difficulties for Pep Guardiola this season, despite the fact that Man City has also lost 5 teams since the beginning of the season.
In the English Premier League, the Etihad Stadium owner won and lost at the hands of Tottenham, MU, Liverpool, and Brentford. In the League Cup, Man City also lost to Southampton in the quarterfinals. After each such bitter defeat, Pep always knows how to improve Man City and it is no exaggeration to say that those failures help the Spanish coach a lot.
Since the 0-1 loss at Tottenham on February 5, Man City is unbeaten in all competitions even when facing strong opponents. However, Pep will no longer have the opportunity to correct his mistakes if Man City lose to Real Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final this season. With the Etihad home field advantage and possession of a slightly better force, Man City is definitely more appreciated than the Spanish opponent. As long as Pep and the Man City stars play properly, they can overcome Real Madrid.
At Etihad this season, Man City crushed MU 6-3, destroyed Leipzig 7-0, won convincingly Bayern (3-0), Arsenal and Liverpool (same score 4-1), Tottenham (4-2). , Chelsea (4-0). Man City’s only defeat at the Etihad this season came on November 12, 2022, against Brentford with a score of 1-2.
That statistic indicates that in its “mecca”, Man City is almost unstoppable. But, as mentioned, Real Madrid is the most dangerous opponent Pep has to face this season.
What is Pep up to?
Solving the problem called Carlo Ancelotti, the dream of winning the historic treble with Man City will get closer to Pep. Besides, the 52-year-old captain will also put an end to any controversy over his footballing prowess or legacy.
Man City touch one hand to the Premier League title 2022/23 after the 36th round of the Premier League ended. Pep is about to win the 5th English championship title in just 7 seasons to work in the foggy country. It will be a tournament record and not easy for anyone to replicate. However, for a perfectionist like Pep, the Champions League is the most important destination.
That is reflected in the way this coach put John Stones, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench against Everton on May 14. Pep does not take the Premier League lightly, but he understands that the remaining opponents in the foggy country can hardly cause difficulties for Man City.
This coach was right, when Everton lost 0-3 to Man City, and Arsenal also “shot themselves in the foot” after losing to Brighton. Man City’s rotation strategy has worked over the past two months and now it’s time for them to put all their energy into tackling Real Madrid, their biggest obstacle.
Tuong Linh | 08:35 May 16, 2023