Manchester City are the biggest club in the world never to have won the UEFA Champions League. (Sorry, Paris Saint-Germain, but you know it’s true). Will they finally get over the hump this time around? Well, maybe, but if so, it will not because the team plays with an overreliance on Erling Haaland. That’s according to City Manager Pep Guardiola, who told the media on Monday that although he understands why everyone wants to talk about the big Norwegian, there is much more to his team than that.
Guardiola stressed the obvious- his big money, striker summer signing can’t do it all himself. It all starts tomorrow night, when City travels to Sevilla for a group stage clash.
Man City at Sevilla Champions League Group Stage
Kick: Tue, Sept. 6, 8pm, Estadio Ramon Sanchez, Pizjuan
MCFC Team News, Starting XI Prediction: go here
Competition: Group G, Match Day 1 of 6
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Google Result Probability: Man City 69% Sevilla 12% Draw 19%
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“If we put everything on Erling’s shoulders, we are not going to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said to his news conference earlier today.
“We try to help him score goals. We convinced him to come here as he felt we did not have strikers and he could play with us.
“I understand everyone talks about Erling, but I have three or four new players and I want them to settle. I hope he can help us, but we won’t win just because of him and we don’t lose just because of him. He has a special quality and maybe he can solve the problems we have, definitely, but we have to play good as a team as well.”
Can’t argue with any of the logic presented by Pep Guardiola there. They need to keep opposing defenders honest regarding Erling Haaland, who has 23 goals in just 19 Champions League games, with RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund. This will be first European clash in a City shirt.
In Premier League action, he has 10 goals through his first six games. That puts him on pace to score 63 goals in league play this season, which would tie the all time record for scoring in the English top flight (Dixie Dean, Everton, 1927-28).
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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