Opinion: Manchester City will win the 2023 UEFA Champions League


Credit: Reva Datar

WSPN’s Jeffery Zhang discusses football club Manchester City’s ability to win the UEFA Champions League trophy.

Jeffery Zhang

Manchester City finally has the chance to obtain the one trophy missing from their trophy cabinet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that space was soon filled.

Since its inception in 1880, Manchester City has managed to win almost every possible club title, including eight league titles, six FA Cups, eight League Cups, six FA Community Shields and one European Cup Winners’ Cup. Now, Manchester City is scheduled to play football club Inter Milan, and is one match away from winning the most prestigious trophy across all club football competitions and leagues: the esteemed UEFA Champions League (UCL) trophy.

The UCL is considered the most prestigious award a football club can obtain due to the expert players and incredible skills featured in the tournament. It’s no secret that the best football clubs are based in Europe and contain top players like Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. The problem is, many European teams play in different leagues and therefore cannot compete with each other. For example, teams from Serie A can’t compete with teams from La Liga, and teams from the Premier League can’t compete with teams from the Bundesliga.

The UCL solves this problem by having 32 of the top teams from 53 different European football leagues compete against each other. The 32 teams are divided into eight groups of four teams, in which the top two teams of each group advance to the knockout phase, where they compete in a series of elimination games. Each knockout stage features two legs, or matches, and the winner is determined by whoever has the most number of goals over the total of the two legs. The scale of this tournament and the caliber of the players that participate plays a key part in why the UCL is considered the largest club football tournament. While the World Cup features the best countries, the UCL features the best players.

Despite dominating the Premier League for the past seven years, Manchester City has always fallen short of winning the UCL. In the 2021 season, Manchester City reached the finals of the UCL before narrowly losing 0-1 to football club Chelsea. That same year, Manchester City won the Premier League, and Chelsea only came fourth in the same league. Although Manchester City had a much better performance throughout the season than Chelsea did, I still wouldn’t say they choked the UCL. Chelsea had a great lineup, featuring players like N’Golo Kanté and Kai Havertz, and you can’t expect Manchester City to win every single match they play. But, if Manchester City has lost every other time that they’ve participated in the UCL, why is this time different?

Manchester City is a different team this year. They’re hungrier and want to win this tournament more than ever. After crashing out on disappointing losses every single year, they finally have the opportunity to win the tournament, and I’m confident that they will seize the title. Their manager, Pep Guardiola, has already won two UCLs and has years of experience with the current Manchester City roster. Under Guardiola’s management, Manchester City should be able to plow through their opponent, Inter Milan. Inter Milan is only third in Serie A, and their roster and performances have not been on par with Manchester City. They’ve only narrowly won their past few games and don’t show signs of chemistry or depth.

The Manchester City roster features some of the most talented and skilled players in the world, including arguably the best player in the world right now, Erling Haaland. The team also has incredible depth amongst their players. They are able to substitute high quality players at any time, as shown in their second leg match against Real Madrid, when Argentine player Julian Alvarez substituted Erling Haaland and scored in under five minutes.

Although it would be amazing to see a first-time UCL winner, many fans hate Manchester City. Their hatred lies in the fact that funding from Manchester City comes from the petroleum industry, labeling Manchester City as an oil club. Although their accusations are based in hate, they are true. Manchester City’s chief sponsor is Etihad Airways, and the club is also funded by UAE money, with the Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group, headed up by Sheikh Mansour, owning the club. Through their funding, Manchester City is able to purchase expensive players and build a multi-million dollar roster, and, although it may be unfair, other clubs do the same. Football club Paris Saint Germain is financially backed by QSI, the QIA and other state-run companies like the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), the Qatar National Bank (QNB).

But, even if Manchester City’s roster has been bought with “oil” money, whether you like it or not, they will win this year’s UCL. After so many years of disappointing losses, I’d say that Manchester City deserves this win. You can’t hate a club for being financially well-backed, and you can’t hate players for their club’s sponsors.

If you ignore the fact that Manchester City’s funds are in the petroleum industry, you might start to see the club for what it actually is: a team of world-class players who play football beautifully.