Manchester City may find themselves 12 points clear at the top of the English Premier League (EPL), but boss Pep Guardiola is intensifying his demands on the team to win the 2020/21 title in style. The Spaniard is arguably the most successful in the history of Manchester City, but the former Barcelona ace is keen to avoid a let-up in desire despite their seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the table.
Guardiola is targeting a minimum of eight wins from their last 12 EPL fixtures, which should be more than within their reach given their 20-game unbeaten run. He insists that any players that gives off an attitude that “the job is done” in training or around the dressing room they are “not going to play”. Guardiola has certainly helped to set a new benchmark for expectations on and off the pitch at the Etihad Stadium and believes “every player can [still] improve” despite dropping just 16 points from a possible 78 so far this season.
Is the quadruple realistic for Manchester City this year?
Aside from their probable title success in the EPL, City are also battling on three additional fronts for trophies, with an unprecedented quadruple still a realistic proposition. Given their imperious domestic form, City have recently usurped last season’s UEFA Champions League winners Bayern Munich as favorites for this year’s competition. FOX Bet, a leading US sports betting analyst, has priced City as short as +250 to win their first Champions League, with Bayern Munich (+320) and Paris Saint Germain (+500) close behind.
Former Liverpool defender and Sky Sports football pundit Jamie Carragher believes a Champions League title is something that City need to cement the Pep Guardiola era forever. Carragher insists City cannot be considered one of the leading club sides in Europe without winning the Champions League – despite them being on course to break the record for the longest run of successive wins in European competition. Carragher insists the “legendary teams” of European football “all have [won] the European Cup” in their time.
City look well placed to advance into the quarter finals of this season’s Champions League after taking a two-goal lead into the second leg of their last 16 tie with Borussia Monchengladbach. Their current domestic form has left most pundits and fans feeling that only Bayern Munich can stop a Manchester City side in full flow from winning their first European Cup. Bayern flexed their muscles in their last 16 tie, hammering Lazio 4-1 in the first leg. Providing they can avoid the German champions in the draw, at least until the final, Guardiola’s men should be big favorites to advance to the final which is scheduled to be held at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium on May 29 – the venue for Liverpool’s iconic win in the 2005 Champions League final over AC Milan.
Returning to City’s domestic aspirations, with the EPL title seemingly sewn up, Guardiola’s men also have the chance to bag the EFL Cup and the FA Cup too. An EFL Cup final with Tottenham looms on April 25, while their FA Cup quarter final with Everton later this month is a tricky tie that could go either way, particularly given their second leg Champions League clash with Monchengladbach is just four days beforehand.
Their run-in in the league looks kind for the coming weeks, with out-of-sorts Wolves and Southampton and relegation-threatened Fulham on the horizon, along with the small matter of a derby with Manchester United sandwiched in between. Wins in all four of these fixtures could be enough to virtually wrap up the title before they even have to think about their Champions League run.
Guardiola believes any potential treble or quadruple-winning campaign will be a testament to the club’s squad depth. The Spaniard said that it would be “impossible” to maintain their standards without rotating his big game players. Iconic Argentine striker Sergio Aguero is also returning to full fitness at just the right time of the season, which will also supplement the likes of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in the final third. In fact, Guardiola has a clean bill of health in his squad bar Dutch defender Nathan Ake, which should also give them a great opportunity to battle on all four fronts in the weeks ahead.