West Bromwich Albion arguably produced the biggest shock of the English Premier League season when they beat Manchester United 1-0 giving Manchester City the league title.
Winning the league was a landmark for coach Pep Guardiola who had spent several hundred million on acquiring players over two seasons in charge. A title was needed this season to justify Guardiola’s spending.
Champions of England means you achieved winning the league in a country where it is seen as the most competitive. Nothing can be taken away from City’s fantastic achievement. Yet just a few days before this result, City crashed out of the Champions League in disappointing style to Liverpool.
The Question: Does CL disappointment matter?
Does an elite team who has no limit when it comes to buying players feel bitterly disappointed with their season by Champions League failure? This, despite having just won and been superb in their own domestic league?
Exiting or indeed winning the Champions League always comes hand in hand with the decisive run in the league.
This season City had the exception, in theory. They had the EPL wrapped up just after Christmas. All of their attentions were focused on winning their first ever Champions League. The creme de la creme of club football competition.
Guardiola of course is no stranger to winning the trophy which he has achieved two times both as coach of Barcelona. The last time Guardiola held the trophy was back in 2011.
But City, for example – like Paris St Germain – are all too familiar with coming up short in the Champions League. Rarely do these teams go out with a huge fight. Evidenced in City’s 5-1 aggregate loss to Liverpool at the semi-final stage.
All conquering PSG went out against Real Madrid at the quarter final stage with the aggregate score ending 5-2 to the current European champions.
Since those results PSG had been cruising in Ligue 1 but their performance has evidently wavered. City on the other hand went on to lose the Manchester derby.
These two clubs are accustomed to winning the league
Achieving success that only many of their peers could dream about. So not being able to win the Champions League could feel as if someone has crashed your league title winning party by switching off the music and revealing a huge banner with a reminder that you still failed. Highlighting all of your resources and expectations this season.
At Barcelona the story is the same
However, they’ve tasted Champions League victory on four of the last 13 competitions. While the Catalan giants win league titles year in and year out it is their eternal nemesis Real Madrid that are changing the face of history with back to back Champions League wins.