The path is set for Manchester City to make history in English football with an unprecedented quadruple, with Pep Guardiola’s side having the remainder of their season planned out in front of them.
City are still in both domestic cup competitions, top of the Premier League and in the Champions League quarter-finals as we enter April and the squad is performing at a level that has teams beaten before they even step on the pitch to compete.
So will they do it? Could they do it? It’s hard to bet against right now.
The Blues made it to Wembley and booked an FA Cup semi-final with a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park this past weekend, with late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne enough for them to beat off Carlo Ancelotti’s stubborn side.
It set up a semi-final with Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side next month, with the new German coach having a incredible impact since joining the Stamford Bridge side. It will be a tactical battle that the neutral is likely to enjoy, with both teams playing attacking football and not wanting to surrender possession of the football to the opposition.
The winner of that tie will face the winner of the other semi-final, which will consist of Leicester City and Southampton. The Foxes dispatched of Manchester United at the King Power Stadium thanks to a brace from former City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, while the Saints were able to navigate a tricky tie against Championship outfit Bournemouth with a 3-0 win thanks to Nathan Redmond’s double.
City are the favourites for the tournament and so long as they can see off Tuchel’s side, they will win the competition barring a complete collapse of a performance in the final. Beating Tuchel’s side is easier said than done though, with Chelsea having conceded just twice in the 14 games that he’s been in charge and only one of them was scored by an opposition player.
They beat Atletico Madrid home and away in the Champions League and the only dropped points they’ve seen were against Wolves in Tuchel’s first game, Manchester United, Southampton and Leeds. City’s defensive strength has been seen this season too with their own fantastic defensive run, so it’s likely to be a much more tense affair than you’d usually associate with a big game.
In the Carabao Cup, they’ve already set up a final with London rivals Tottenham later next month and with the current goings on at both cups it’s hard to see them not winning that one.
Jose Mourinho is of course always a factor, with his record in domestic cup competitions fantastic everywhere he’s been. But with his Spurs side in disarray after crashing out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb and struggling in the league, it would be a huge shock to see them overcome such a dominant Manchester City side.
In Europe, the task is much harder. Not only because they’ve never won the competition before and have little experience in the latter stages, but also because their path to the cup is littered with tough fixtures.
In the quarter-finals they have drawn against free-scoring Borussia Dortmund, with the second leg set to be played at Signal Iduna Park. They’ll have to stop the machine that is Erling Haaland, but also the likes of Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard and young England midfielder Jude Bellingham from shining.
For all Dortmund’s brilliance going forward, they are incredibly open defensively and that is a recipe for disaster against a Guardiola side. With their defensive excellence this season matched with the fact they have goals all over their side, it’s likely that City will be able to find their way through to the semi-finals for just the second time in their history.
There they’ll face the winner of the quarter-final clash between both of last season’s finalists, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain. The two powerhouses are to battle it out for a place in the semi-final and they’ve all been placed in the same side of the draw – making it a heavyweight affair regardless of which two of the four teams go through.
For all City’s dominance and ability, they’re likely to be underdogs if they come up against Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga champions and current Champions League holders are likely to be a super tough test and they have so far been the benchmark in Europe, winning 19 games in a row in the premier club competition stretching back to last season.
Even if City do manage to progress to the final, they’re sure to face one of Europe’s big boys again barring a shock. Chelsea are due to face off with Porto in the quarter-finals, while Liverpool take on 13-time champions Real Madrid in the other.
If City are to win the quadruple this season, nobody could say they won’t have earned it.
Nobody has ever been closer to winning all four competitions in a season than City are right now, and yet even now they’re still so far away.