Many were unsure as to how Manchester City would treat the Europa League, after bowing out of the Champions League at the group stage, but Roberto Mancini’s team selection in their round of 32 wins over Porto seem to suggest that they could be on course to justify their 11/4 price to win the tournament.
City achieved an impressive 6-1 aggregate scoreline over last season’s winners Porto, sending a message out to Legia Warsaw and Sporting Lisbon, one of whom they will meet in the last 16, though defender Joleon Lescott is already looking past that to a potential European final appearance.
He said in the aftermath of the Porto game: “This competition is massive, the Champions League wasn’t great for us – we got a good number of points but not enough for us to qualify.
“Now we are in the Europa League we are going to push for this and hopefully get to the final and win this competition.”
The sheer strength in depth that City possess would appear to indicate that they were decent bets to go all the way in the competition even prior to their matches with Porto, but the team selection evident in these games, along with the ruthless nature of their wins, seems to cement this notion yet further.
Players like Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, key to City’s Premier League title ambitions, have appeared in both Europa League games despite a rush of difficult domestic fixtures imminent.
In fact, the entire starting 11 that hammered the Portuguese champions 4-0 at Eastlands was not dissimilar to the regular first team Mancini chooses in their biggest Premier League games, and this can only bode well for punters who get behind City to win the Europa League at 11/4.