Will the Spurs’ Year of the Cockerel Deny Manchester City a Quadruple?
Manchester City brushed aside Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend and, in doing so, gave the English Premier League notice that they will be the team to finish EPL champions at the end of the season.
The Citizens are currently on top of the league table with 53 points from 23 games. Their closest rivals are Leicester City, who are in second position with 46 points – but the Sky Blues also have a game in hand.
At one stage, it looked like being a two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool. However, the Reds have now lost their last three matches, being beaten by Brighton 1-0, by Manchester City 4-1, and by Leicester City 3-1. It looks like their race is run.
Not only are Pep Guardiola’s team looking likely winners of the EPL, but they are also in the final of the Carabao Cup and are one of the last 16 teams standing in the Champions League. Given their current run of form, where their unbeaten run of games now stretches to 16, there is serious speculation about the possibility of a Quadruple.
In the final of the Carabao Cup, they face Tottenham Hotspurs. If the match this last weekend was a dress rehearsal for the final, scheduled to take place at Wembley on the 25th of April, City have little to worry about. The closest Spurs came to scoring was a speculative free-kick from Harry Kane, which hit the woodwork.
Apart from that, the only other moment of danger for City came from a lovely piece of skill from Gareth Bale when he wriggled his way through three defenders and blasted a shot on target. But goalkeeper Ederson was up to the task.
Man of the match was the Citizen’s German midfielder, 30-year-old İlkay Gündoğan. As well as scoring two of City’s three goals, he also won the penalty that led to the third. It was a masterful display and took his goal tally to 11, making him the team’s leading goal scorer to date this season, ahead of Raheem Sterling on 8. Quite an achievement for a midfielder. The only other midfielder in the EPL to rival that is Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United, who has a remarkable 13 goals.
The only fly in the ointment from Pep Guardiola’s point of view is that the German international was taken off in the weekend game against Spurs with a groin injury. City’s injury list is growing. Kevin de Bruyne is still out of action and is expected to miss the upcoming game against Everton. Sergio Aguero, their Argentinian striker, is also out with a knee injury but is hopeful of returning soon.
Having just mirrored their scheduled FA Cup final against Tottenham last weekend, City now get a dress rehearsal of their upcoming FA Cup Quarter Final against Everton. If it goes as well as their other dress rehearsal, they will be through to the FA Cup semi-final and another step closer to that Quadrupal.
So, the EPL crown, the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup – all that remains to keep that Quad dream alive is to progress further in the Champions League. Their opponents in Round 12 are the Bundesliga side, Borussia Mönchengladbach. If all goes to form, the Citizens should win. Whereas Man City are flying high at the top of the EPL, Mönchengladbach are struggling in 7th place in the Bundesliga table.
Suppose City manages not to lose the appropriate qualifying matches, the first opportunity Pep Guardiola’s team will have to begin stacking up the Quadruple quest in earnest will be on the 25th of April when they play Jose Mourinho’s men in the final of the Carabao Cup.
Last weekend’s dress rehearsal went resoundingly City’s way, so on player form, it looks like Manchester City have got it made. But what about manager form?
According to Sportingbet’s greatest English club managers of all time review, Pep Guardiola doesn’t make the top ten, whereas Jose Mourinho is listed as the sixth-best ever.
The Portuguese is famous for his strategic prowess, and he will want to make the best use of that advantage. Then, there is the fact that when the time comes, injuries to players like Giovanni Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilón, and Serge Aurier should be resolved. If other players like Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and Son Heung-min stay fit and Dele Alli can get more match hours under his belt to regain his best form, Spurs could pose a stern threat.
They’ve beaten Coty before in high-pressure games, and they are capable of doing so again. Remember what happened in April 2019 when Spurs knocked Manchester City out of the Champions League? It could happen again, especially considering it is the year of the Spurs Cockerel – a year with a 1 as the last digit – occasions that have seen many Spurs Cup Final Wins.
If it does happen, it would leave the Citizens hoping to secure a Treble rather than a Quadruple.