It is that squeaky bum time of the year, specially for all of us City fans. Looking at how fierce the Premier League title race is, this Champions League draw will have implications far beyond our European ambitions. This draw is gonna shape our final lap of the season. Let us analyze all of the opponents and try to arrive at the best draw that we can get today.
- Bayern Munich
On paper Bayern looks like the team everybody wants to avoid. But, i actually think that Bayern could be the type of opponent we would relish playing against. For starters, they don’t play a low block at all and it is going to be end to end football. This tie is going to be decided by who defends better and i feel, we have a much better defense overall than Bayern, specially when it comes to defending against transitions and turn over of possesion.
Strangely Bayern suit us more than what other people might actually think and i would not mind drawing them
This is a tie i would be cautious against, specially that we play them thrice in 2 weeks including the Premeir League match. You can’t expect us to win all the matches against the same opponent in such a short space of time. The law of averages is surely going to catch up. Also, the pressure and the energy we need to spend on each one of those ties is just not sustainable for me.
This is one tie i would like to avoid, specially that we would have to play them either side of the Premier League fixture on April 10.
Chelsea are not at their peak right now and they are no where near the side that defeated us 3 times last season. Also, it seems that Pep has got Tuchel’s number this time around. We have beaten them comfortably in the 2 league games this season. Chelsea would be an opponent that would make me feel at home. It seems as if we know the blue print on how to defeat them, without exerting ourselves much.
Chelsea would be one of the most comfortable opponents to face, specially that we seem to know them like the back of our hand right now
- Real Madrid
Most of our fans seem to have Real Madrid on the top of their wish list. The implosion of PSG seemed to make Madrid look better than they actually are. Madrid has an ageing midfield coupled with a defense who can be got at fairly easily. The only thing here for me is their experience of playing in the latter stages time and again. People might not atatch a lot of weight to it, but this experience counts for far more than you might actually think.
I would rate this match up as a 50-50, just because of the number of times they have been there at this stage and the clinicalness of players like Benzema in crucial moments.
- Athletico Madrid
Now, all of the opponent’s further remaining in the list are experts in playing low block. But, the team that plays the lowest of blocks is Athletico Madrid. They are the best around at playing this kind of system. Witnessing City’s recent struggles against low blocks, you might think that this is a tie made in hell. But, the way United opened up Athletico on a couple of occasions with quick one two passing makes me believe that they are not that resolute force of the past. They can be got at with the kind of passing football we play.
This tie will offer a clash of footballing philosophies and might actually not be as difficult as one might think. This Athletico team is no where near the stubborn machine of the past. So, i would be okay with drawing Athletico in the next round
At the present moment, Villarreal have taken the baton of frustrating opponents from Athletico Madrid. They are playing some of the best counter atatcking football in Europe at the moment. This would be a side that has the potential to cause us an upset. They have pacy forwards up front and their ability to soak up attack after attack has me worried. We have seen opponents undo City with this template in the Premier League.
This is an opponent i would not want either side of playing Liverpool in the Premier League. The kind of mental energy we would need to break them down would be something Pep would not like ahead of that blockbuster clash with Liverpool at the Etihad
That result against Ajax sent shock waves through Europe. Everybody was expecting Ajax to coast through the last 16, only for Benfica to not read the script. Now, this result has implications for City, because we play quite a similar style to Ajax. Benfica are the typical park the bus team, who have pacy and physical forwards. If Benfica have to defeat us, they would have to sit back and then may be nick something off a set peice. I am worried about how we would deal with the physicality of Benfica.
This is a tie that looks easy on paper, but there are some intricate things about Benfica and their style of play that makes me think that this tie is not as easy as it is being made to look