We are now only a couple of months before the end of the 2018-2019 season and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City can still win the quadruple. The Citizens have already bagged the Carabao Cup at the expense of Chelsea and are still in contention in the FA Cup, Champions League and English Premier League. While Manchester City have been brilliant and playing like champions this season, favorable cup draws might have played a part in their impressive campaign.
Let’s take a look at how the draw has been anomalously lenient on Guardiola’s team.
City were drawn in Group F alongside Olympique Lyonnais, Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk. While I would not describe Champions League games against Shakhtar and Lyon as trivial, City’s opponents were hardly European footballing royalty. None of the teams, except City, were contenders for the trophy.
In the round of 16, City obtained a very manageable tie against another German opponent Schalke 04, who are battling relegation in the Bundesliga. They again avoided the stronger teams in the quarter finals draw and will face Spurs, a familiar team they have defeated in their last three encounters.
In contrast, neighbors Manchester United played Italian behemoths Juventus (who had recently signed Cristiano Ronaldo) and Valencia, before playing PSG in the round of 16. They were then rewarded with a quarter final tie against Lionel Messi’s Barcelona.
Similarly, Liverpool navigated a tricky group with PSG and Napoli. Spurs came out of the group of death which comprised of Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven. Poch’s team also faced off against young, high-flying Dortmund team in the knockout stage.
If you think City’s Champions League run has been fortunate, wait till you see their FA Cup run: Swansea City (lower mid-table in Championship), Newport County (mid-table League 2), Burnley FC (relegation battle in the EPL), Rotherham (Championship relegation candidate).
To top it off, Watford, Wolves and Brighton were the remaining three teams in the semi-finals draw, with the first two clearly the strongest. Guess who City drew?
Conversely, Manchester United played three members of the top seven away from home consecutively: Arsenal, Chelsea and Wolves. The Wanderers also had to eliminate Liverpool on the way to the semis.
The 2019 EFL Cup final was played between Manchester City and Chelsea FC on the 24th of February. Guardiola’s men narrowly defeated Sarri’s Chelsea during a penalty shootout. If we analyze the two finalists’ path to the final, Chelsea definitely had a harder time getting there.
Manchester City’s road to the final: Burton Albion (mid table in League 1), Leicester City (very porous defensively under Claude Puel), Fulham FC (pretty much relegated in EPL), Oxford United (League 1 relegation battle).
Chelsea, on the other hand, faced Liverpool away from home, Derby County (in-form Championship team coached by ex-Chelsea legend Frank Lampard), Bournemouth and Spurs in the semis.
City can only play against what they are drawn and The Overhead Kick is in no way claiming that there was any foul play in the draws. This might be a golden, once-in-a-lifetime chance for Manchester City to win a quadruple.
Some say you need some luck to win the Premier League. Imagine the good fortune needed to win all four trophies now. The stars are currently lining up for City.
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Featured Image from flickr