The football calendar commencing once again means that the curtain is ready to open on Europe’s premier competition as we welcome back the Champions League.
Off the back of the record signing of Jack Grealish and disappointment in last year’s final, this year’s competition sees mounting pressure on Manchester City and Pep Guardiola to ensure the coveted trophy comes to the blue side of Manchester for the first time in its history.
Manchester City’s potential to win the competition came into focus in the latest episode of 888Sport’s Eye Test podcast, after Guardiola’s side fell just short in defeat to Chelsea at last year’s final.
In spite of lauding the City boss as a ‘fantastic coach’, Steven McInerney of Manchester City Fan Channel, EsteemedKompany, emphasised his belief that ‘it’s fair to criticise him’ if he doesn’t capture European glory before his contract is up’.
Picking the teams that they believe are most likely to be contenders and still in the running when the tournament reaches the semi-final stage, the trio of Rory Jennings, Stevo The Madman and McInerney all highlighted Chelsea and City as being likely to return to the summit, given the squad improvements they have made.
Backing Chelsea and the improvements they have made, Stevo highlighted the growth of Mason Mount as being potentially pivotal to Chelsea’s attempt at making history and retaining the European Cup, backing him to get an extra 10 goals in all competitions this season.
However, the comedian also threw in a wildcard and backed Barcelona’s new youth prospects to rally them to the last four, as they recover from the departure of Lionel Messi. On the other hand, Jennings couldn’t see beyond Bayern Munich and Messi’s new side, PSG, as making the final stages, whilst McInerney fancied another English side to be there – even giving cross city-rivals Manchester United a fighting chance.