Manchester City are determined to retain their Champions League crown and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to stand in their way.
It took a while for Pep Guardiola and his great entertainers to be crowned kings of Europe but they possess such swagger that it is going to take one of football’s freak circumstances to prevent them yet again popping the champagne corks after winning the final at Wembley on June 1.
The other contenders who have battled their way into the last 16 aren’t up to scratch when compared to the Etihad elite and it’s quite conceivable that they conclude another intoxicating campaign with a Treble after also keeping the Premier League and FA Cup trophies in their possession.
Bayern Munich are struggling in the Bundesliga despite luring Harry Kane to Germany and don’t convince, Real Madrid were casually dismissed over two legs by City last season and don’t appear to have significantly improved despite Jude Bellingham’s excellent form since moving to the Bernabeu Stadium in the summer, and while Arsenal pose a potential danger they aren’t at the same level as City in full flow.
The biggest threat could come from Inter Milan, who City defeated in last summer’s final in Istanbul, as they are romping away with the Serie A title and they may be worth backing at 18/1 with SpreadEx. Best hope they don’t have to travel to Manchester before the final, though.
City – crying out to be backed at 9/4 to win the Champions League with Betway – begin the knockout stages with a trip to Denmark where they face Copenhagen, who breezed through the group stages by finishing ahead of Galatasaray and Manchester United when ending up second to Bayern.
They beat United 4-3 at the Parkon Stadion in November but Erik Ten Hag’s team were a mess back then and City can return to Blighty with a healthy lead by winning by more than one goal at 7/10 with Betway, Betfred and Coral.
Phil Foden can continue his electric form by scoring the first goal of the match at 7/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power and at 12/1 with the same firms. while over 3.5 goals is worth an investment at 6/4 with Betfair and Betfred.
• The Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL’s equivalent of Manchester City after becoming the first team in 20 years to win successive Super Bowls when beating the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 following an overtime thriller in Las Vegas. Head coach Andy Reid is a tactical genius like Pep Guardiola, quarterback Patrick Mahomes pulls the string just as Kevin De Bruyne does in City’s midfield while Travis Kelce mirrors Erling Haaland but scores touchdowns instead of goals. Both teams are stocked with young, exciting players who will be sticking around for ages and the Chiefs are a whopping 15/2 with Paddy Power and Betfair to become the first team to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy three years in a row.
• Barrow, Gillingham, Notts County and Wrexham form Tuesday’s Football League yankee.