Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti didn’t mince words after his side were eliminated by Manchester City in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. “I am satisfied because we competed well against the best team in the world at this moment,” Ancelotti told SkySports after his club dropped a 2-0 decision to the Cityzens.
It’s hard to put up an argument against Ancelotti’s thesis. Manchester City is still positioned to turn an unprecedented quadruple title haul this season. City lead the Premier League table by 14 points over cross-city rivals Manchester United. They will face Tottenham Hotspur on April 25th at Wembley Stadium in the Carabao Cup final. There’s an April 17th date with Chelsea in the FA Cup semi finals. As well, Manchester City are through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, set for a two-leg showdown against Borussia Dortmund.
City are so dominant domestically that in the latest Premier League betting odds, a wager is being offered on which club would win the title if Manchester City weren’t in the league. City are the +225 favorites to win the Champions League. They are the -182 chalk to defeat Spurs and win the Carabao Cup. In the FA Cup betting markets, City are the +110 picks to win the Cup final for the second time in three years.
“Carlo Ancelotti” by Getty is licensed under CC BY 3.0
An Unimpressive Beginning
Eight matches into the EPL season, City were just 3-3-2 following a 2-1 defeat to Spurs. There were calls from pundits for manager Pep Guardiola to tear it down and begin rebuilding his side, that perhaps their time as a football power was in the past.
Then City went unbeaten over their next 28 matches, including a 21-game winning streak. Since that Nov. 21st loss to Tottenham, Manchester City has posted 35 wins, two draws and suffered one loss in all competitions. Broken down by competition, City are 19-2-1 in the EPL. They are 4-0 in both the Carabao and FA Cups and 4-1-0 in the UCL.
“What we have done is more than remarkable,” Guardiola told ManCity.com. “It’s incredible. One of the greatest achievements we have done together.
“Honestly, since last break four months ago, we played 34 games. In this winter time, playing every three days, with incredible commitment in every competition, I don’t have any words to express that.”
The win at Everton in the FA Cup quarter finals was City’s 17th consecutive away result without suffering defeat. That’s a new club record. It was also the side’s 14th straight win in away matches. Not only is that a club mark, it’s a national record.
City have already set a new best-ever tally for the longest run of consecutive wins in top-flight history by chalking up those 21 straight victories between December and March. As well, the club equalled their own record by going 28 games unbeaten across all competitions.
City also won all nine of their competitive fixtures in January, the most by a team in the top four tiers of English football in a single month since the formation of the Football League in 1888.
“Manchester United.” by AP is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Only one English side has managed to capture the treble of the Premier League title and FA Cup and UEFA Champions League crown in the same season. That was Manchester United in 1998-99.
Liverpool came close in 1976-77. They brought the English League title and European Cup to the Kop, but fell 2-1 to Manchester United in the FA Cup final. In 1983-84, Liverpool completed a treble of the English League title, European Cup and League Cup.
Guardiola believes that it’s the versatility of his club that makes City so tough to beat.
“When you win a lot of games like we have in the last four months, it’s because you can adapt,” he said. “That pleases me the most.”
If City goes one step further and completes a quadruple, then it will be difficult for anyone to make the case that there’s a club in the world better than them at the present time. But Guardiola was quick to add a caveat before people get too far ahead of themselves.
“We haven’t won anything yet, so we will be focused and we will see how far we arrive in the competitions,” Guardiola said.