After a couple of false starts, Manchester City are seemingly now ready to make a splash in Europe, with their odds to win the Champions League now 15/1 after they booked a place in the knockout stages.
They can also reap the benefits of early qualification in Premier League, as Manuel Pellegrini can limit rotation to focus on domestic football and boost his charges’ chances to claim the title, for which they are currently priced at 2/1.
Five of the past six Premier League winners have qualified easily from their Champions League groups.
Over the past six seasons Manchester City themselves are the only eventual Premier League winners to fail to escape their Champions League group.
Manchester United romped to four wins in the first four games last season to qualify, one of three campaigns where the league winners have booked a last 16 place after four group games in the past six years.
In two of the other three years ensuing champions have left themselves needing only a point at that stage, allowing extra attention to be placed on crucial domestic fixtures.
None of the Citizens’ title rivals have yet ensured progression from their groups.
Pellegrini’s team are the only English side who have been able to qualify after just four games, and even though they are unlikely to overhaul Bayern Munich to top Group D, they will be highly satisfied with their work in the competition.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all have work to do to join the Sky Blues in the last 16, with the Gunners in particular facing a real scrap to progress from their cockfight with Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.
City have key league games around their final group matches they can focus on, with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal visiting the Eithad.
There are plenty of crunch games at the top of the league table coming up over the next few weeks and City will be delighted to order their stars to don their smoking jackets and get their feet up ahead of games against Arsenal and Spurs in particular.
Arsenal will travel to the Emirates just two and a half days after a vital trip to Napoli that could see them dumped out of the Champions League.
Last season City dropped 13 points in the 12 games before and after Champions League matches, including the 3-2 home loss to their neighbours, suggesting they got a little carried away with their glamorous trips to the continent.