Man City's Victory Over UEFA is Their Biggest Win to Date

City 1-0 UEFA

On Monday, Man City breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the club's two-year ban on European football.

At the weekend, City, with three games to spare, confirmed that they will be finishing in second place in the Premier League this season thus registering another place in the Champions League for an 11th straight season.

Had they not been successful in their appeal, life could have been very different for City in many ways, both on the pitch and financially off it. Now, as Liverpool continue to grow, we take a look at what this means for the Citizens and the future of this club as they look to battle the Reds once more next season.

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Keeping hold of Pep Guardiola

We are coming to the end of Guardiola's fourth season at the Etihad Stadium, which makes this his longest stint in management, alongside his four years at Barcelona. However, of course, the Spaniard was hired by City with the intention of taking them to the next level and securing their first-ever Champions League.

Having only managed at Barcelona and Bayern Munich beforehand, the Spaniard is no stranger to success at European football. In fact, both of his Champions League titles came at Barcelona and both came against City's arch-rivals, Manchester United, back in 2009 and 2011.

If City were going to have to spend two years outside of UEFA's competitions, Guardiola would have been left with a huge decision to make whether to stay or go from Eastlands. Having already won the league titles in England, Germany and Spain, and as they come as more of an expectation rather than a celebration these days, Guardiola simply needs the Champions League for his own reputation.

Now, with Champions League football staying at the Eithad, City will most likely keep hold of their man - a man they simply could not afford to lose with Liverpool getting better and better.

Incoming transfers

It would be easy to say that City would have struggled to land marquee signings that would have given them sufficient power to mount a title challenge because they would not have been able to use the lure of Champions League football had their ban not been lifted.

However, money is arguably much more of an attraction in modern day football and that could have been their saving grace if they were trying to land a world class player.

Looking back in recent years, their neighbours United had little difficulty attracting big names after they failed to qualify for Europe in 2014. In his first season in charge at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal managed to land Angel Di Maria for £60m and Ander Herrera without the attraction of European football.

However, if City are to get back fighting for the title and stopping Liverpool from running away once more, you can't help but feel as if Champions League football could attract those elite players.

There are talks of bolstering the defence with names such as Kalidou Koulibaly, who is one of the most sought after names across Europe. In truth, without European football and with Liverpool so much better right now, outside of the money, is the attraction to City still there?

UEFA have saved them and potentially got them back fighting for the title next season.

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De Bruyne going nowhere

This is arguably the biggest reason why City fans are grateful to have their ban overturned.

A lot of success that has come City's way since Guardiola's arrival has been down to midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. The playmaker has been phenomenal at the Etihad and has assisted no less than 22 goals this season.

Now at the age of 29, and without a Champions League to his name, he is now at a stage in his career where he is playing at his peak. When the ban was announced, the odds of the Belgian international leaving for another European giant would have undoubtedly been slashed.

De Bruyne would have most likely left City because he is a player that simply belongs in the Champions League, even Thursday night football in the Europa League is beneath him.

Whilst now being able to compete in next year's Champions League, De Bruyne will most likely stay with the Citizens because he seems perfectly settled and happy under Pep Guardiola. With all of this in the armoury, they have to be amongst the favourites to take home the Champions League title next season.

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They can't let liverpool get any better

City's absence in Europe might have had an indirect effect on how they would have finished in the Premier League.

Of course, their best players might have been wanting to head out the door but then having to play fewer matches might have had a benefit on a factor like a lack of fatigue. Especially when the teams around them comparatively would have had to play more games.

As far as this season is concerned, as hard as it was to live up to the expectations and the high bar they set the previous two seasons (accumulating 198 points), they have fallen drastically short this season in terms of points. This could be because their main attention has been on the Champions League this season.

As far as the Premier League title is concerned, having won it on four occasions, fans would have most likely happily sacrificed the league if it meant they would have a bigger chance of winning Europe's biggest prize.

The last team to win a Premier League title and reach the Champions League final in the same season was United back in 2009. This suggests that, because of the intensity of the Premier League, it is very difficult and rare to now have success in both competitions at the same time.

On this basis, it could then be argued that City's chances of winning the Premier League could have been increased if they were going to be absent from Europe for two years and, if that happened, it could have been part of a period of domestic dominance for City.

By Rob Spereall


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