Manchester City’s schooling at the hands of Bayern Munich confirmed the filthy rich Citizens have got an awful long way to go before they can be considered genuine contenders to win the Champions League.
Their 3-1 trouncing left them tied with CSKA Moscow for second place in Group D and priced at 17/1 to be crowned kings of Europe this season with bwin.
Potentially pending exit
After two tough group stage draws, City were handed a friendly-looking pool for this season’s competition, boosting their chances of reaching the knockout phase for the first time.
That perceived smooth route into the last-16 looks a little bumpier after the latest round of results and their forthcoming clashes with CSKA will have a massive bearing on their future in the competition.
It’s far from unimaginable that they’ll fail to beat the Russian outfit – they failed to achieve the same feat when heavily-fancied against Ajax last term and Napoli the season prior – which renders the Europa League as a reasonable shout to be Manuel Pellegrini’s best chance of hoisting a trophy in his first year at the helm.
Axed Champions League cast thrive on smaller stage
There’s been a distinct Champions League reject feel about the latest batch of Europa League winners, with three of the past five victors in Europe’s secondary competition having had to suffer the setback of group stage ejection from it’s far more prestigious sister tournament.
Chelsea’s triumph over Benfica in last season’s instalment represented the second time in that spell that two clubs ousted from the group stage of the Champions League were pitted against one another in the Europa League final, while at least one outcast from the premier continental competition has appeared in the less glamorous alternative’s showpiece in four of the past five years.
Competition too tough on other fronts
With five rivals battling to win the Premier League, City’s early-season inconsistencies are likely to see them come up short in that particular quest, while a potentially tricky trip to Newcastle for their reserves to navigate in the Capital One Cup is likely to leave their eggs firmly in the FA Cup basket.
Given their recent record on this front, 11/2 seems a reasonable price that they prosper, but with trophy opportunities at a premium in this topsy-turvy campaign, the Europa League could provide City’s best bet in their bid for silverware.