Much has been made of Manchester City’s struggles in the Champions League group stages in the last two seasons, including surrendering the lead twice when they played Real Madrid earlier this season. Various reasons have been mooted, including their inexperience as a club at this level of European football (having previously only played at the top level of European competition once before 2011), the relative inexperience of the players on Europe’s grandest stage and the fact Champions League football is another step up from Premier League football – both in terms of style and class.
In this article, I will list four reasons which, in my opinion, make Manchester City inexcusable when it comes to not progressing past the group stages of the Champions League.
4. The Talent Assembled Is Of The Highest Quality
Every detail of Manchester City’s net spending over the last four years has been scrutinised and we will look at that later but what cannot be mistaken is that Manchester City have bought well. The squad and particularly the starting XI is of the highest quality, especially when you compare it that of Liverpool’s, who have also spent big and, pretty much, gone backwards. Big deals for star names like Yaya Touré (£24m), Sergio Aguero (£35m), Mario Balotelli (£24m) and David Silva (£24m) have all been made in recent years and big money has been spent on them.
However, while I’m sure City fans are ecstatic at their recent meteoric rise to the top of the English game, their very success and their current squad is one of the reasons I believe City have no excuses in the Champions League. If you look at Manchester City’s squad on paper it is in the same quality bracket as that of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United – perhaps transcending Sir Alex’s squad. All these teams expect to go much deeper into the competition than the group stages and therefore so should Mancini’s men. City are not only a team with a magnificent starting XI but they are a team with world class subs too, therefore the excuses of squad rotation, fatigue and poor squad depth cannot be used.
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This article was first posted on December 2, 2012