Manchester City Could Defend Their Champions League Crown in 2023/24

Manchester City finally arrived on the biggest stage when they recently won the Champions League. After so many near misses, City, led by manager Pep Guardiola, were victorious in Instanbul after defeating Inter Milan 1-0. But, after tasting success in European football’s top club competition, the onus is on them to defend their crown in 2023/24, and they could very well do it.

As you will expect, Manchester City will go into next season’s tournament as the favorite according to UEFA Champions League betting, and for good reason. Not only are City the defending champions, but they were also the most impressive team on the planet in 2022/23, winning an iconic treble that included the Premier League title, FA Cup, and the Champions League. 

They had the players in the starting XI and on the bench that made them an unstoppable and irresistible force, they could tactically switch it up, and they’re also not prepared to rest on their laurels.

Erling Haaland Manchester City
Haaland (Image Credits:

Getting to the top is some feat; staying there is an even bigger one, and, in reality, being able to stay there will come down to recruitment and getting it right once again. Erling Haaland arrived, and his goals have been crucial to City’s success, something which we will come onto shortly. But Guardiola and the City hierarchy have a habit of making the right call on players, both coming into and leaving the club. And it looks like this summer will be another example of how to do things the right way.

Kyle Walker, who will go down as one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever right-backs, has done superbly when called upon this term, either at full-back or center-half. But, there was a spell he wasn’t in the team, and now it looks likely he will head for the exit at the Etihad shortly. While still fast across the floor, Walker is thirty-three and declining. Guardiola’s eagerness to keep refreshing and revitalizing his squad is one of the reasons why defending their Champions League crown is possible.

RB Leipzig's twenty-one-year-old Croatian center-back Josko Gvardiol is believed to be a target for City, as is West Ham captain Declan Rice, aged twenty-four. They're two players of high enough quality now to move City forward, and they can get better and better because of their ages and the effect Guardiola will have on them. Ongoing processes like this make the continuation of success and hitting the highest levels entirely possible, even in European football's leading club competition.

Erling Haaland is also going to be crucial if City are going to be in the mix to win the Champions League for a second successive season too. The Norwegian arrived from Borussia Dortmund last summer, and in his first campaign with the club, he’s won the treble and secured multiple personal accolades while breaking records simultaneously. 

It was always suggested that an out-and-out elite striker could make the difference, and it’s proven to be the case.

In all competitions, the twenty-two-year-old has weighed in with a stunning fifty-two goals and nine assists in fifty-three appearances. Based on time on the pitch, Halaand has a direct goal involvement every 0.75 games, which is remarkable. 

Focusing solely on the Champions League, the striker scored twelve goals and made one assist in eleven outings, with a goal involvement every 0.72 games. Like other City players, Halaand will only get better, and his teammates will only become more familiar with his playing style. So, you can certainly expect more goals next season, especially in the Champions League, which Haaland didn’t score in after the quarter-final stage.

Another crucial element, and one that is based on recent press speculation, is that Guardiola could depart the club at the end of his current contract in the summer of 2025, which means he could only win the Champions League with City twice more. After taking so long to achieve the holy grail with his current employers, the Spaniard will be keen for there to be no let-up as he goes in search of his fourth Champions League trophy as a manager, after previously winning the competition with Barcelona in 2008/09 and 2010/11.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City
Pep Guardiola (Credits: TheRinger)

Guardiola will want to bow out of his time at City, having brought the club as much success as possible. He will want to be known for winning multiple Champions League crowns with two different clubs, and now he’s done it once, he has the blueprint to work from at the Etihad in the next two seasons. He also knows Sheikh Mansour will be expecting City to kick on now after winning the competition for the first time. 

He’s invested heavily to make the dream a reality, and expectations will rise since Istanbul, but likely so will his investment once again, which can only make a second Champions League trophy in as many years probable.

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