Reigning сhampions Manchester City are in pole position to defend their Premier League title whilst Josep Guardiola and co. are also chasing a first UEFA Champions League trophy after losing the final last season against domestic rivals Chelsea.
In the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League draw, holders Chelsea have drawn a tough challenge in 13-time European champions Real Madrid. On the other hand, Liverpool has drawn an easier opponent in Portuguese club SL Benfica, who shocked Ajax in the Round of 16 and would be looking to cause another upset in the quarter-final stage.
Guardiola’s former team and current Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will be facing the 2020-21 Europa League winners Villareal who would be high on confidence after knocking out Juventus from the competition. Manchester City has drawn Deigo Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, who knocked out City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United in the previous round.
Since last season’s UEFA Champions League final defeat, a lot has changed in the blue half of Manchester as strikers Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres have left the club to represent Barcelona, the current favorites for the Europa League title. In order to replace the two stalwarts of the attacking force, the Citizens signed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in the summer transfer window for a club-record signing fee of 100 million pounds.
The signing of the England international has coincided with Raheem Sterling gaining back his old form whilst Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, and Gabriel Jesus continue to give selection troubles to Guardiola.
According to UA-Football, Man City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko is all set to feature against Los Rojiblancos despite Russia's invasion of his home country Ukraine. The Ukrainian defender is concerned about his family back home and prays for them every single day, according to his interview with English football legend Gary Lineker. When Russian military invaded the borders of his motherland on February 24, Zinchenko woke up from his sleep at 3 AM UK time and says that his wife was horrified after seeing the videos and the images.
The player will be competing with the likes of Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, and Aymeric Laporte for a spot in the Citizens’ defence ahead of goalkeeper Ederson.
Manchester City has the best defensive record in the ongoing Premier League season as they have conceded only 18 goals in 29 matches and have only one fixture against a ‘Big 6’ side in their remaining nine league matches. But their attack has fizzled out recently as City endured two consecutive scoreless draws (second-leg tie against Sporting and a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace) for the first time in the ongoing season.
Guardiola would be hoping that his creative forces are back in the reckoning when Atletico Madrid’s tight defence comes back to Manchester for the second time in the ongoing Champions League campaign.