Such overwhelming and throat-clenching dominance for all Real Madrid fans has been seen by few in this century. But Pep Guardiola and his team knew exactly what they wanted and from the first second they went for it unwaveringly. So Manchester City have three big games ahead of them and if they can do it, they will equal Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble from the 1998/99 season.
Manchester United treble 1998/99
When the 1998/99 season kicked off, few would have tipped Manchester United to win the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League at the same time.
In the opening three league games, the Red Devils had three draws – Leicester, West Ham and Chelsea, losing clearly 3-0 to Arsenal after two wins. But the subsequent run by Alex Ferguson’s charges meant Manchester United celebrated the title, finishing just a point ahead of the Gunners.
The Red Devils qualified for the Champions League via LKS Lodz and met Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the group stage. All 4 matches ended in draws. However, Manchester United managed to beat Brondby twice with a score of 11:2. In the play-offs, they managed to knock out Inter and Juventus and the famous match with Munich certainly doesn’t need to be mentioned.
In the FA Cup, the Red Devils then went through Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Fulham, Chelsea and managed to reach the final against Arsenal, with Dennis Bergkamp missing a penalty at the end of the game and then Ryan Giggs deciding the game in extra time. Manchester United beat Newcastle 2-0 in the Wembley duel.
This season, fortune was clearly on the side of Alex Ferguson and his party!
Manchester City treble 2022/23
In the Premier League, Manchester City once again swept past Arsenal. However, Mikel Arteta’s charges ran out of breath early and if Manchester City beat Chelsea at the weekend, it will be decided. Pep Guardiola will win the league title in England three times in a row! And for the fifth time in six seasons.
But in the FA Cup it was not so clear-cut dominance, as the Spanish coach won this oldest football competition in the world only once – 2018/19. Manchester City thrived under Guardiola in the League Cup, which he dominated four times (2017/18 – 2020/21).
Now it is Manchester United who will stand in his way of the treble in the final, who have also matured a lot behind him and Erik ten Hag is slowly starting to return the team’s former respect.
In the Champions League, the Citizens carved their way to the final mainly through the German sides as they faced Borussia Dortmund in the group stage, RB Leipzig in the eighth and Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. The semi-final was billed as an early final, but the rematch at the Etihad Stadium was more of a nightmare for Real Madrid.
The final is seen as a clear cut affair that cannot end any other way than Manchester City winning. However, the Champions League final has offered more than one surprise, as evidenced by the aforementioned 1999 final.
Manchester City on top!
Guardiola has built the Citizens into a real machine that has been a favourite for several seasons in every competition. The dominance in the Islands is unquestionable, but in Europe it hasn’t been the case as there has always been something missing.
But now a number of players have matured and gained experience during many big games, which they now give to admiration. Goalkeeper Ederson no longer makes unnecessary fouls, John Stones with Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan hold the reins firmly in the middle of the park, while Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva destroy opponents with brilliant passes.
Of course, it’s about a number of other players too. However, recently the Citizens have been missing a goalscorer, which has been solved by the arrival of Erling Haaland, who is breaking goalscoring records this season. For how much space Julián Álvarez is getting, he is also asserting himself very often.
This Manchester City side is truly breathtaking and one can count on the fact that it could be even better in the coming seasons! But at the same time, Guardiola and co. have not won anything yet, the last steps are still to be taken!
Source: Transfermarkt, UEFA, Manchester City
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