Manchester City centre-back Martin Demichelis believes that Manchester City can become a real force in European football under Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini.
The Argentinian defender is confident that his former-Malaga boss can inspire the Citizens to new heights.
City face a tough trip to the Allianz Arena in Group D of the Champions League to face European champions Bayern Munich tonight.
Demichelis told Sky Sports: “I think Manuel has shown with Malaga and Villarreal what he can achieve in the Champions League.
“I think now we’re on a really good path. We’re growing with every game and every week and we have a great future ahead of us with Manuel.”
City have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game to go. The Citizens travel to Munich looking to topple the Bundesliga leaders in Group D.
It will be a tough ask for the English club to win at the Allianz Arena, as Bayern have won all five of their group games so far in the competition and won ten games in a row in Europe. A victory in Munich would be a major achievement for Pellegrini’s team.
One factor that may hinder City’s chances of success is their poor away record this season. Pellegrini’s sides have failed to impress on the road in the Premier League, but have won both their away games in the Champions League so far against Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow.
The Citizens have suffered unexpected defeats at both Cardiff and Aston Villa this season. In their last outing City drew 1-1 at an under-strength Southampton. City will need to improve their form on the road if they are going to be true challengers.
In contrast City’s home form in the Premier League has been outstanding. The Citizens cannot seem to stop scoring goals at the Etihad Stadium. The only team to have beaten Pellegrini’s team at the Etihad Stadium this season were Bayern Munich.
The European champions completely outclassed City on their home turf and the game illustrated just how far away the English side are to competing with the best team in Europe.
Strengths and weaknesses
Manchester City does have some top quality players in the likes of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Alvaro Negredo. The Citizens are too good for most of their opponents in the Premier League, but City does have weaknesses as well.
They are at times irresistible going forward and hard to stop, with Argentinian Sergio Aguero on-fire in front of goal. However at the other end of the pitch they are struggling.
City look vulnerable at the back and the doubts over the goalkeeping position is not helping City’s defensive record. Captain Vincent Kompany has been troubled by injuries this season and that has helped to contribute to inconsistency in the Citizens defence.
Highly-rated young centre-back Matija Nastastic is also currently out injured. City have also rotated their full-backs a lot this season, so there is no real continuity in their defence. Good defences are usually built on a good understanding between all the players involved and the goalkeeper, City currently have not got that.
In their Premier League title winning season Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott formed a solid partnership at the heart of the defence and it led to a number of clean sheets. Kompany and Nastastic have the potential to form a good partnership, but both need to be fully-fit first before that can happen.
As I wrote in Sunday’s article a lot of the big teams in the Premier League are struggling to find consistency and City are one of those teams. If they are to be true challengers for the big trophies then City need to find a decent level of consistency.
City’s trip to the Allianz Arena will be a major test of City’s Champions League credentials. The Citizens suffered a football lesson in the reverse fixture. Much will depend on what players the two managers pick for this clash.
However, Bayern Munich have proved in the last season and a half that they are above the level of most of their nearest rivals in European football. Manchester City may have some very good players and lots of resources, but they still have a long way to go to be on the same level as the club from Bavaria.
Bayern Munich are favourites to win this clash at odds of 4/9. The visitors are odds of 13/2 for victory and the draw is 4/1. It is difficult to see past the home side in this clash, but City will always have a chance while they have the deadly Sergio Aguero in attack.
Can Manchester City be a force in European football?