Reigning Champions in England, a Sergio Aguero named master-class in their attack, a defense protected with Vincent Kompany at its helm with a Yaya Toure dominated midfield, and this is a side many in the Premier League would die for. However, the least Manchester City fans would have expected was to decide whether to pray for a win or a defeat against a side which is their only good chance of beating in this season’s Champions League.
So when both of the Champions League minnows met each other on Wednesday, there was a similar situation in Man City ranks, as happened with Everton last season when they met Man City in the later stages of the season knowing, that if they beat the blues, Liverpool will win the league.
Astonishingly, both Liverpool and Tottenham qualified for the Champions League in a season in which, they both weren’t taking part in EUROPA League.
Although this factor cannot be attributed to that of Everton, still there was a tension in Manchester City ranks when they met CSKA Moscow side which was written off by many, only to a comeback against Manchester City which put life in a side that has done very well to compete with money-bags in their league.
While it was a horrid Man City team whom CSKA got the better off, still the Citizens got a blessing in disguise as they are away from the UEFA Europa League pitfall now. Now, either they will be going to the next round or coming back home as they have less chances of getting the third spot.
Liverpool finished 3rd in group stages in 2009-10 season. They went on to play in Europa Semi-finals, however their League form suffered as the Reds finished 7th in the League 7 points adrift of a Champions League spot.
After hosting CSKA and undergoing a brutal defeat to CSKA Moscow, City will host the Bavarians at the Etihad on the 25th of November before a trip to Roma awaits Manuel Pellegrini men. However, inadvertently, Wednesday’s fixture has inadvertently written off chances, if there were any, of the Premier League Champions being going through from the group of death.
Teams that have gone far into the Europa League have struggled in the Premier League with Tottenham and Liverpool as obvious examples.
While EUROPA League has its own importance, history have shown teams who go far in EUROPA deem to struggle in Premier League. Take Tottenham and Liverpool for instance as the latter qualified for the Champions League when they weren’t in Europa a season before.
Europa League has 32 teams in the knockout phase, while Champions League have 32 team in the group stages. That means the 3rd place teams in Champions League, will have to play one extra round.
So even though City were undone by a side whose entire team probably cost less than what Eliaquim Mangala cost to the Premier League Champions, looking at the brighter side of the picture and City probably have been handed a boost in their defense of Premier League title this season.
Also Read: Yaya Toure is the highest paid African!
Amir Bashir follow him on Twitter.