City have spent the last week underling their determination to reach their lofty ambitions of football domination. Firstly, there was the exciting, if somewhat complacent, 3-2 victory over Bolton on Sunday afternoon. Just yesterday, City finally completed the signing of French silk merchant Samir Nasri from Arsenal. Today, one of City’s many dreams became a step closer to reality when the Champions League groups were announced.
The game against Bolton was an entertaining affair. City were, at times, outstanding with the likes of Edin Dzeko, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and James Milner shining brightly. The pick of goals came courtesy of a thunderbolt strike from Gareth Barry. City were most dominant and pleasing on the eye when the score was 3-1. However, City will rue to two rather sloppy goals they conceded which took the shine off an impressive performance. Credit should be given to Bolton manager, Owen Coyle, who clearly injected a dose of his passion for the game into his players, who never gave up.
Roberto Mancini finally secured the services of creative midfielder Samir Nasri this week. Nasri’s protracted transfer should prove to be a great addition to the City squad, giving City an obvious alternative to David Silva. Nasri will become a valuable member of the team especially considering City will have a tough inauguration to Champions League life.
The tension of following the Champions League group stage draw on BBC live text coverage was, at times, too much to handle: it was feasible at one stage that City could have been drawn in the same group as Barcelona and AC Milan. With a strange sense of nervous excitement building and, rather aptly, Well I Wonder by The Smiths playing on my personal stereo the tension was relieved to a certain extent when City avoided Barcelona and AC Milan. Having said that, City will not have an easy ride. They were drawn against Champions League veterans Bayern Munich and Villarreal and fellow Champions League newcomers, Napoli. Nothing in the Champions League is going to be easy, especially when City are involved.
So, exciting times ahead for City! To see the match highlights of the Bolton game click here. The full Champions League group draw is below:
Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli
Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor
Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati
Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb
Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund
Group G: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, APOEL Nicosia
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen
Words by Rob Toole