Manchester City's UCL quest: Will this be their year?

By Guest writer, Tue 01 November 2022 16:34

Manchester City's UCL quest: Will this be their year? 

Pep Guardiola has led commanding, dominating squads throughout his star-studded title–laden managerial career. This year's City side is no different.

Other European teams should have realized this when the Citizens triumphed in the 21/22 Premier League without playing a specialist striker. Add Haaland to the mix; you have a blazing portion.

City has been thumping opponents at will this season by huge margins bringing huge smiles to those with Manchester City tickets, clearly visible in their Goal difference. Bar a loss to a dwindling Liverpool side; the Cityzens have been unbeaten across competitions, making it clear that Manchester, at least for the time being, is blue, as they held their next-door neighbours hostage, in a 6-3 thumping at the Etihad.

But one title that has eluded City has been the prestigious UCL title. However, City looks favourites to bring home European glory this year. With top signings in Julian Alvarez, Sergio Gomez, Kalvin Phillips and Erling Haaland, and their existing galaxy of top talent, City looks beyond threatening this time around.

With the addition of clinical strikers and expensive defensive reinforcements, the club looks potent as ever this season as they embark on a quest to reverse the UCL drought.

City's squad depth will come in handy this season as the mid-season world cup means very tight schedules across domestic competitions. With a world-class backup in the ranks, Pep Guardiola will now have the liberty to field high-quality teams, although they might not always be his first-choice players.

No words to describe Haaland and de Bruyne: Pep

The Spaniard was in full praise for his Norwegian striker Erling Haaland. Since making his 60 Million Euro move to the Etihad from Borussia Dortmund, Haaland has already scored 22 goals across all competitions in just 15 games for Manchester City. To put it in context, that's more than what England striker Harry Kane scored last season. "I'm Catalan, so my English language is not big enough," Guardiola said.

Beyond just the pace, the Norwegian's stocky and commanding physique has helped him drive through the strongest resistance.

The manager reiterated that club captain Kevin de Bruyne is not performing at his highest level despite the Belgian's spectacular returns in midfield. His linkups with Haaland have been a treat to watch. Guardiola added that as much as the two are performing at a level like no other, there is also room for improvement.

When asked if Haaland was the best striker he had coached, Guardiola quickly drew Haaland parallel to his legendary Argentinian apprentice, Lionel Andres Messi and that he is still not there.

 Guardiola is tactically sound as ever

It took no more than eight minutes for the astute Spaniard to make tactical changes vs Brighton. Noticing how high the Brighton defensive line was and their man-to-man marking nature, Pep instructed his goalkeeper to go long.

The result was that Erling Haaland received a pinpoint, accurate long ball from the magical foot of Ederson as he made the run behind the Brighton defence, only leaving the goalkeeper between him and the goal. The Norwegian saw it home and got the scoreboard ticking for City.

Manuel Akanji is settling into his new club

Along with Erling Haaland, Manuel Akanji took the flight to Manchester towards the end of the transfer window from Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old, mainly known for his pace in defence, was tactically instrumental in Guardiola's side battering city rivals Manchester United 6-3, giving full value to anyone at the Etihad with Manchester City tickets.

The Swiss international now settles into Manchester and reportedly feels very comfortable at his new base. He stated that he feels he is happy and fits in at City. With absolute clarity about his capabilities, the defender is a team man ever willing to come on whenever the manager requires him to script an impressive performance.

Akanji added that he wasn't entirely sure about his move to the Etihad till it was 100% confirmed, despite word from teammate Erling Haaland that he was under City's radar. 

Suspensions and Injuries

Man City's pacy first-choice defender Kyle Walker is out for the foreseeable future as he has undergone successful surgery. Sustaining a pelvic injury as of now, Walker is set to miss international duties for England as well at the Prestigious Qatar World Cup this year.

With due prognosis to be provided in due course, Walker's chances of getting back to first-team training any time before the turn of the new year seem very much in danger.

In good news for those with Manchester City tickets, John Stones is set to immediately return to domestic action for the Cityzens as the defender is said to have recovered from the mild hamstring strain he sustained a few days ago.

With injuries coming high and fast to the English defensive line, Stones has managed to string through his defensive commitments while taking care of his body.

Kalvin Phillips is yet to make a Premier League appearance for his new club after moving from Leeds United. The injury-prone midfielder is reported to be making good progress. Phillips sustained a shoulder injury in training and was ruled out for the foreseeable future. Phillips is set to "hopefully" return to first-team action in time for the world cup.

Transfer Watch

In the latest transfer news, Manchester City seemed to have developed a keen interest in Chelsea's Kai Havertz. The German has endured a largely unsuccessful period with measly returns despite having regular first-team action. Having fallen out of favour with new manager Graham Potter, Havertz could be convinced to explore new options, as per Simon Phillips.

Inter Milan's Alessandro Bastoni is under Manchester City's radar. The 23-year-old European champion is set to be yet another target in City's bid to reinforce their already competitive defensive line.

With yet another transfer window looming, the Cityzens have their eyes set on Antonio Silva. Despite making heavy investments in their defence, City is not backing off with a piqued interest in the highly talented defender from Benfica.

Club first captain Ilkay Gundogan is also in the transfer news. The German could be on the verge of leaving the Etihad, as per The Sun. Galatasaray has their eyes set on the midfielder. With his contract coming to an end next year, it wouldn't be surprising if the Turkish club secured the services of the midfielder in time for next season.

With an ever-growing fan base for the Cityzens, Manchester City tickets are in high demand. Tickets sell out high and fast on official retail sites because of the footballing spectacle these players provide.

In that case, official retailers might not be your best option. Exploring trusted reseller sites will help you reliably source Manchester City tickets.