When Pep Guardiola was brought in at Manchester City, the board were clear with their aspirations. The world-class manager was specifically signed because they believed he held the key to winning the Champions League. Since the Abu Dhabi United Group bought the club for £210 million in 2008, they have expressed their keen desire to win the most coveted trophy in Europe. With Real Madrid knocked out of the competition, is the time ripe for bookies’ favourite City to capitalise and finally win the ultimate competition?
Is the Time Ripe for Betting Favourites Manchester City to Finally Win the Champions League?
Real Madrid’s long dominance of the Champions League has ended, after Ajax shocked bettors and did a 4-1 demolition job on the struggling Spanish side at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos had claimed four of the last five trophies, including the past three, but now the door is open for another contender to reap the rewards. Madrid have had a seriously underwhelming season but were still considered dangerous contenders by bookmakers in the side’s preferred competition. With another favourite for the trophy – Paris Saint-Germain – also knocked out of the competition, Guardiola will now be looking hungrily at the rest of the teams left in the tournament and seeing a real possibility to top the pile.
After Manchester United dumped PSG out of Europe in a thrilling match at the Parc des Princes, odds on their crosstown rivals to lift the trophy were slashed to around 5/2 with most online bookmakers in the UK. This included bet365, where bettors can get up to £100 in credits. At those odds, now may be the ideal time to stake on City doing the business. If another major contender was eliminated from the tournament, the odds would shorten further.
The Time Is Right
Now feels as though it is the perfect time for City to go all the way in this competition, and anything but victory could be seen as failing to seize an opportunity. Certainly, there will be a flurry of betting activity at sites like Betway, Bwin, and Boyle Sports who all offer free bets to be used on football markets. Of the teams that are left in the tournament, City arguably have the strongest squad and the most experienced manager. Guardiola has world-class options in various positions, which will enable him to fight for the league title as well as the European trophy. This is something that not every team can boast, and other contenders such as Liverpool and United (both at 10/1) may struggle to maintain league form if they throw everything at the Champions League. This would be disastrous for the Reds, who are desperate to claim their first ever Premier League title and can be backed at 9/4 to do so.
The fixtures for the rest of the Round of 16 will see some of the other elite clubs eliminated. Only one of Bayern Munich or Liverpool will progress, and Atletico Madrid are now out at the hands of Juventus. Barcelona are expected to get through their tie against Lyon, which is poised at 0-0 after a stalemate at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in mid-February. The Spanish giants are considered the second favourites to claim their sixth Champions League trophy but the La Liga leaders haven’t quite hit the same scintillating form defensively as they have in past seasons. This term, after 26 games, they had conceded 25 goals in the division. But last season when they only lost one game in the league, Ernesto Valverde’s side allowed their goal to be breached 29 times throughout the entire campaign. Still, it may be worth a free bet on Barca, such as the £30 from Moplay or the £20 welcome offer at Royal Panda.
With everything considered, there is a real possibility that at least one English team will make it to the final of the Champions League in Madrid. If there is going to be a winner between City, United, and Tottenham Hotspur, the smart money would be on Guardiola’s charges doing the business.
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