Man City can win UCL again and don’t write Arsenal off

The first legs of the Champions League Round of 16 have now been completed, and holders Man City appear to be odds on to cruise into the next stage unless there’s a huge upset in the second leg.

Arsenal succumbed to a 94th-minute winner which will see them start the next match at a disadvantage to Porto.

That hasn’t bothered Arsenal fan and former super agent, Jon Smith.

“I’m still expecting Arsenal to come back in their Champions League match against Porto,” he said for his exclusive CaughtOffside column.

“I read the reports, that they weren’t going to qualify now, that they’ve blown it again but I’m sticking with them.”

Man City to go through alongside other European heavyweights

Barcelona were another team to be pegged back in their tie against Napoli. The Partnopei weren’t in the game at all until Victor Osimhen equalised Robert Lewandowski’s strike 15 minutes previously, giving the Serie A side something to hang onto.

Smith doesn’t believe they’ve done enough, however.

“I think Man City, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and Bayern will go through, which leaves me pondering Atletico Madrid and Inter with Borussia Dortmund in the background, because I just don’t think they’re quite strong enough,” he added.

Champions League Trophy

The smart money appears to be on Pep Guardiola’s side to retain their crown at Wembley later this year, which if they did would give the City manager a unique treble of having won the title at the famous old ground on three separate occasions.

Currently, he’s won twice at Wembley with Barcelona, once in 1992 as a player and then again in 2011 as a manager.

Despite their favourites tag, Smith does give the others a chance – if they can put their minds to it.

Man City can still be beaten

“Teams other than City can win it, of course they can, and I’m certainly thinking of Real Madrid here” he concluded.

“It’s a bit like walking out at Anfield under that tunnel sign that says ‘This is Anfield.’

“It’s a momentary mind gap that you have to overcome, and I think when you come up against Real Madrid in the Champions League, you just have to forget they’ve won it so many times and just get on with it.

“My favourites at this point would be Real Madrid and City but not necessarily in that order.”

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