M.E.N: Champions League shake-up could benefit City
- 10 October 2014 07:22
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
City fans may have struggled to understand the Champions League seedings for the past few years, but all that could be about to change
With the Blues having among the toughest qualifying groups for four years running, questions have been raised as to why teams who finish lower in the Premier League receive better seedings and therefore a more comfortable passage through the group stage.
City have, of course, faced Real Madrid, Bayern Munich (three times), Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Roma plus other notable sides in the past four years - despite being crowned champions of England twice during that period.
The Manchester Evening News takes up the story of how this year’s title winners will earn a fairer draw next season.
Writes Stuart Brennan: “UEFA will change their seeding system in the Champions League to give title winners top billing, from next season.
“The European governing body’s general secretary Gianni Infantino confirmed that the new system just needs a rubber stamp.
“At the moment, a team’s placing depends on a complex equation that depends on their historical success in the competition, and the success of other teams from that country.
“It led to anomalies such as the fact that City, as Premier League champions, were in Pot Two while Arsenal, who consistently finish third or fourth, remain in Pot One.
“The current system has contributed to the Blues’ tough draws in the last four seasons – they have drawn Bayern Munich three times and Real Madrid once.
“From next year, the champions of the “top seven” leagues in Europe – Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia and France – will automatically qualify for Pot One, along with the Champions League holders.
“Said Infantino: ‘It happened in France and it happened in England, people had difficulties in understanding how the champion of a country is in a lower pot than the third ranked in that country.
‘Football is about winning, it’s about competition it’s about sporting merit. I think it’s kind of a natural thing to give to those who have won a competition a special treatment like this.’”
Elsewhere, it’s good to know irony is alive and well and manifested itself in the form of the England man-of-the-match voting last night – to the benefit of one of City’s two players who featured against San Marino.
101 Great Goals write: “Joe Hart may have had his most comfortable in an England shirt. The Manchester City goalkeeper, hugely experienced at this level, had nothing to do against the part timers of San Marino.
Finally, the Surrey Mirror believes Chelsea will launch a surprise bid for one of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad in the New Year.
In three games against San Marino, Joe Hart has not had a save to make! So, kudos to the England fans that voted the under-worked Three Lions keeper the man of the match after the 5-0 victory last night. We look forward to his interview post-match!
Whether City would consider selling to a title rival is another matter, but the report reads: “Chelsea are considering a shock move for Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic, but face competition for Italian giants Juventus and Roma.
“Nastasic has been struggling to make a mark at Man City since the arrivals of Eliaquim Mangala and is expected to leave the Etihad Stadium in search of more regular football.
“It was thought it would be a straight fight between Juventus and Roma for his signature, with the latter reportedly having already opened talks, but reports from Italy suggest Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been keeping an eye on proceedings, and is set to make a 'substantial' offer to the Premier League champions.”
More City-related gossip tomorrow.