Inevitability is an attribute of only the greatest teams.
A foreboding sense that fate and any powers that may be have pre-determined a certain side’s glory, regardless of the complications at hand.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United had it.
And Pep Guardiola’s Man City have it.
It’s intangible, but very, very powerful.
Even at 2-0 with only a quarter of normal time remaining, nobody who has watched City in the last year and a half would have pencilled Swansea’s name in the FA Cup semi-final draw.
City won in the end, of course they did.
Now they are 15 games away from a quadruple that would echo in eternity.
They are unquestionably good enough to win the three trophies left – having already retained the League Cup – but it is unlikely they will.
Their unmatched squad depth will be tested when they play Spurs three times in 11 days before a Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
Juventus and Barcelona have their respective leagues wrapped up and have the luxury of prioritising the Champions League.
Most of all, a quadruple is improbable because such an achievement defies football’s chaotic nature.
But equally, might they do it?
Wolves are their biggest challengers in the FA Cup and, as it has done since the start of the campaign, the draw has been kind to City at the semi-final stage.
Just as it has been in Europe — Schalke are on course for their worst league finish since they returned to the Bundesliga in 1992.
In the quarter-finals, Spurs are a tougher test than Porto but Guardiola has had the edge over Mauricio Pochettino in recent times.
City are the bookies’ favourite to win the Champions League, despite their relative inexperience in European knockout games.
No Premier League team has ever been in contention for the quadruple at this stage of the season.
United’s treble winners were eliminated from the League Cup at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners Spurs in 1999.
It’s entirely possible this City team may not add to their trophy tally but the fact three more are plausible is an achievement in itself.
Whatever you think of City’s methods (financially, morally, etc), a quartet of trophies would establish City as world football’s primary superpower.
Mocked by other fans for the artificial nature of their success, the club are desperate to build an enduring legacy.
United’s treble winners of 1999 are still a point of reference today.
Could City go one better 20 years after Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s famous winner in Barcelona?
They’re just 15 games away…
- Fulham (a) – Premier League
- Cardiff (h) – Premier League
- Brighton (h) – FA Cup
- Spurs (a) – Champions League
- Crystal Palace (a) – Premier League
- Spurs (h) – Champions League
- Spurs (h) – Premier League
- Man United (a) – Premier League
- Burnley (a) – Premier League
- Champions League semi-final first leg
- Leicester (h) – Premier League
- Champions League semi-final second leg
- Brighton (a) – Premier League
- FA Cup final (n)
- Champions League final (n)
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