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The odds for Manchester City vs Inter are from the FanDuel sportsbook, where you can get a no-sweat first bet worth $2500.
The time has come for Pep Guardiola’s side to win the biggest prize in European club soccer.
Manchester City are within touching distance of history.
One more victory this weekend would see them crowned champions of Europe for the first time in their history. It would also see them replicate the achievement of Manchester United in 1998/99 by winning a treble of Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League.
The first two trophies have already been secured. The first came despite the fact City trailed Arsenal for most of the campaign. The second, the FA Cup, was won thanks to a 2-1 triumph over Manchester United in last weekend’s final. One more challenge remains.
City have, in many people’s eyes, been the best team in Europe for some time now. They have won five of the last six Premier League titles, breaking numerous records along the way. If the Champions League were a 38-game tournament, City would surely have lifted the trophy several times by now.
But it is not. There is a group stage before Christmas but the Champions League is primarily a knockout competition. That means it is easier for underdogs to pull off surprise victories, and City have fallen victim to a few of those down the years.
Real Madrid eliminated them last term, but most of City’s conquerors were inferior sides. They have lost to Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, all of whom finished below Pep Guardiola’s side in the Premier League in the same campaign. Monaco and Lyon also sent them packing.
Surely City cannot blow it from here? They are strong favorites according to the best online sportsbooks, which anticipate a one-sided final.
City have certainly been hugely impressive of late. They have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid in recent months. Erling Haaland has given them a new dimension up front with his astonishing goalscoring exploits. City’s time has surely come.
Everyone associated with Inter knows they will be the underdogs on Saturday. This is a club with a rich history in this competition. Three-time winners, the most recent of their successes came under Jose Mourinho in 2010. They have also finished as runners-up on two occasions.
But Manchester City are owned by Abu Dhabi and play in the Premier League, the wealthiest soccer competition on the planet. Guardiola is widely regarded as the world’s foremost manager and Inter do not have the same quality of player as their upcoming opponents.
It would be wrong to completely write them off, however. Inter have upset the odds throughout the tournament, starting in the group stage. Drawn alongside Bayern Munich and Barcelona, many tipped them to finish third at best. Instead, the Italian outfit advanced ahead of Barca.
Granted, their route to the final in the knockout phase was not the most taxing in history, with Inter knocking out Porto, Benfica and their local rivals Milan. But a team can only beat what is in front of it and Inter did that pretty convincingly, especially in the quarter-final and semi-final.
This current team does not contain any Champions League winners, but Inter’s players will look to lean on the club’s history in this competition. If City were to fall behind, it would be a real test of their players’ mentality given they have come unstuck in the Champions League on numerous occasions in the past.
Simone Inzaghi is under no illusions, though: to beat Manchester City, virtually everything has to go right for Inter. The Serie A side will need to produce a perfect performance.
Inter won their own treble in 2010 and they are now the only team standing between Manchester City and that incredible achievement. City have never managed to get over the line in the Champions League but the time has come for them to be crowned kings of the continent.
This is a City side without any major weaknesses. They are defensively solid, technically brilliant in midfield, and possess an abundance of attacking options at the top of the pitch. It is hard to see how anyone can stop them right now.
There is little value in betting the moneyline on this occasion, since City are such strong favorites. Instead, consider backing a win and a clean sheet for the Premier League champions.
Champions League finals tend to be tight and tense affairs. The last three all finished 1-0, and none of the last four have featured more than two goals. Interestingly, the winners have kept a clean sheet in every final since 2018.
Inter do have quality in attacking areas, not least in the form of Lautaro Martinez - a player who would not look out of place in Guardiola’s squad. But City have come on leaps and bounds defensively in recent months, and their ability to control possession should limit their opponents to few clear-cut chances.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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