Manchester City’s ineptitude in Europe’s premier club competition reached new heights when losing 2-1 to CSKA Moscow at the Etihad, but potential paths to Champions League salvation still remain for the bedraggled Citizens.
There is no way to swerve the fact Group E currently paints a grim picture for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, grounded at the foot of the table on two points from four games.
The net result of such a miserable tally for the English champions is a price of 9/2 just to qualify behind runaway group winners Bayern Munich.
However, as bleak as things seem, all hope is not lost for City, but it’s now absolutely imperative they beat Bayern in their next fixture, or kiss their Champions League adventure goodbye.
This is a daunting task, though it’s important to remember City came away from Munich with all three points in last year’s group stages and given the Bavarians are now assured of top spot, there is an opportunity to catch the German giants sleeping.
That would place City on five points, while CSKA Moscow and Roma – both on four points apiece – play each other next.
A draw in that game and suddenly things really are looking up for Pellegrini’s blunderers.
CSKA travel to Bayern last, where Pep Guardiola and his team’s pride would ensure losing twice at home in succession in any competition would not be an option.
In theory victory for City in Rome would then send them through. But even if Roma beat CSKA, a win for City in the Italian capital would send the Serie A club crashing, providing Bayern had been beaten first.
Three points for CSKA against Roma would make City’s task easier in Italy. While in such circumstances it’s very conceivable that Bayern beating the Russians in the Allianz Arena on matchday six would see City complete the great escape.
It’s all speculation, but to only have accrued two points the scenarios could be a lot worse for City and there is hope.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s fate still largely remains with themselves if they can win their last two games against opposition they should be beating in Ludogorets and then Basel at home.
Punters feeling frisky can get nearly 11/1 on a double which sees both these dead-but-not-buried Premier League clubs squeeze into the knock-out stages.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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