Swept away Real Madrid, reached the Champions League final – and the successful defense of the Premier League title is on top of that: at the end of a perfect week, Manchester City have become English champions for the ninth time overall and for the fifth time in the last six years . And even without having to intervene.
The Citizens were able to enjoy watching on the couch on Saturday evening how the last remaining rival FC Arsenal failed 0: 1 (0: 1) at promoted Nottingham Forest and thus lost their last small chance to intercept the Skyblues. Taiwo Awoniyi, who was still under contract with Union Berlin last year, made the old champions new with his goal in the 19th minute – although Manchester were still eight points behind the Gunners at the beginning of April.
City’s home game for team manager Pep Guardiola, goal machine Erling Haaland, midfield star Kevin De Bruyne and German captain Ilkay Gündogan on Sunday (5 p.m. / Sky) against Chelsea will be a show. And the first pre-season match for the two big games City still need to win for more titles this season: the FA Cup final at Wembley on 3 June against city rivals Manchester United and the European premier league final a week later in Istanbul vs Inter Milan.
The sky-blue combination machine goes into both games as the big favourite. The treble, the first in the club’s history, has long been the goal of the voracious citizens and their owners from the United Arab Emirates. Since the takeover 15 years ago, they have pumped billions into the traditional club and let it climb from a lift team to a power in England and Europe.
But now the assessment of this season, which has been so promising so far, will be decided. Gündogan (32), whose contract is expiring, mourns his missed chances in the 2013 and 2021 Champions League finals. Guardiola, this magical, manic perfectionist on the sidelines, despite his collection of more than 30 trophies as a coach, has the “blemish” that he only won the handle cup in 2009 and 2011 with the then almost unstoppable FC Barcelona – while he was with Bayern Munich (2013 to 2016) and ManCity (since 2016) chased the coveted trophy and coached more than once.
The four Champions League participants from England for the coming season have been as good as certain since Saturday because Liverpool FC only drew 1-1 (0-1) against Aston Villa and at best still has theoretical chances, Newcastle United or To oust record champions Manchester United from one of the top four places.
The Europa League is “okay,” said Reds team manager Klopp, who had to watch the game from the stands because of his suspension after criticism from the referees. “For too long” his team’s results this season “were not good enough, but we made it pretty exciting,” added the 55-year-old.
Under Klopp, the LFC had previously moved into the premier class six times in a row, reached the final three times and won the handle cup in 2019, which Guardiola and City would now like to have for themselves.