City CL favourites?

Manchester City thrashed Schalke 04 by a score of 7-0

The Guardian

Pep Guardiola: Juventus are Champions League favourites despite City's stroll - video

When asked if Manchester City have a good chance of winning the Champions League now Real Madrid have been knocked out, Pep Guardiola says: ‘I won two [Champions Leagues] but lost seven. So I lost more. I’m not Real Madrid.’ The City manager believes the pressure is instead on Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo. Guardiola’s modesty came despite his team thrashing Schalke 7-0 on Tuesday to complete a 10-2 aggregate victory in the last 16

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Are Manchester City favourites in the Champions League?

By Joe Harker

In the Champions League there are emphatic victories and then there's Manchester City scoring seven times in 90 minutes against Schalke 04.

With the aggregate from the first leg in City's favour by 3-2 Pep Guardiola's side would have wanted to get the early goal and shut out the possibility of conceding an away goal. By the end of the first half they were 3-0 up and probably feeling rather confident.

Not only is the win an emphatic and momentum building triumph, it's also a sign that City are one of the best teams left in the competition. With Real Madrid and PSG knocked out, City and Italian club Juventus are two of the more fancied teams to lift the trophy.

The Claim:

The BBC's Pat Nevin believes City have what it takes to go all the way in the competition and mature into worthy Champions League winners.

He writes that player for player they have the best team in Europe, also boasting an impressive squad depth to deal with injuries and fatigue in the latter stages of the season.

Nevin cites the example of Kevin De Bruyne, one of the best players in the world. He has spent much of the season injured and City have been able to cope without him. They are top of the table in the Premier League having been without a key player for plenty of games, how many other clubs could boast such a wealth of options?

The Counter Claim:

Guardiola insisted his side were not favourites for the competition, tipping Cristiano Ronaldo led Juventus to win their first Champions League since 1996.

He said he players were "like teenagers" in the Champions League because they lacked experience and trophies. It is a common held belief in football that winning a competition is easier when you have some players who've got prior experience in that department.

City's only European honour is the Cup Winners' Cup in the 1969/70 season, they lack the history of winning the Champions League.

However, it is not history that will put that at a disadvantage to Juventus, it is the Premier League. City are top by one point only and have Liverpool breathing down their necks. They cannot rest players as much as the Italian side, who are 18 points clear at the top of their table.

If City want to compete in the Premier League and Champions League they will have to make the most of their impressive squad depth and should be aware that fatigue could become a problem even with rotation.

The Facts:

Man City have only reached the semi finals of the Champions League once, in Manuel Pellegrini's last season where they were beaten by eventual winners Real Madrid. For a club that has splashed the cash and built one of the most formidable squads in Europe they are still desperately lacking Champions League pedigree.

City manager Guardiola has won the Champions League twice in his career, both times with Barcelona. A spell at a dominant Bayern Munich side didn't translate into European success, even with the German club having made three of the four Champions League finals before his appointment and winning it in 2013.

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