Pep Guardiola Labels Upcoming Spurs, United Clashes as ‘absolute finals’

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It’s a must win for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City tomorrow night; otherwise their UEFA Champions League aspirations, and with it their quadruple hopes, come to an end. City will host Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of their UCL quarterfinal tie, and they enter the match down 1-0 on aggregate.

Anything less than a victory and City will be ousted from Europe in the same round from which they exited last season. Wednesday’s match is also the first of a double against Spurs this week, with the second clash against the north London side, a Premier League fixture, coming on Saturday.

Then, a week from tomorrow, comes a rescheduled Manchester Derby at United. Guardiola sees all three of these matches as must wins. The City manager is approaching all of these games with the urgency of a cup final. Given the elite form Liverpool are currently displaying, City have no room for error in the league title race.

“If we don’t win these games we will be out of two competitions,” Guardiola said at his pre-match news conference today.

“They are absolute finals for us, I’ve had that feeling from weeks ago. Every time in a competition [they are] when you arrive in the latter stages.”

“We don’t have a 12-point [gap] like last season — in this period, we were already champions, but this season we have an incredible opponent like Liverpool in the Premier League. What they have done so far they deserve. Normally with 84 or 86 points you are champion — they have 85. Both teams deserve to be champions but just one team is going to get it.”

champions league

No team has ever stayed alive in all four competitions this late in the season, so Pep Guardiola and Man City are truly in uncharted territory.

Now begins a three game stretch that is massive to say the least.

Tottenham Hotspur at Manchester City UEFA Champions League Quarter-final Leg 2/2 FYIs

Kickoff- Wednesday Apr 17, City of Manchester Stadium 8pm (Tottenham up 1-0 on aggregate)

Injury report for both sides: go to this link

Starting XI Predictions- Tottenham Hotspur    Manchester City

Google Result Probability- Manchester City win 71%   Draw 19%  Tottenham Hotspur win 10%

manchester city

Odds to qualify for the semifinal, via Betfair- Manchester City win 4/7, Tottenham 11/8

Prediction: Man City 3, Tottenham 1 (aggregate Manchester City 3-2)

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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