Guardiola could be set for Europa League football

When Manchester City announced that Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola was taking over from Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, the club was going strong in four competitions.

Although City did go on to win the Capital One Cup with victory over Liverpool at Wembley, Pellegrini’s side have since gone out of the FA Cup and fallen off the pace in the Premier League. In fact, they now have a fight on their hands to finish in the top four and qualify for Champions League football next season.

The race for the top four now involves Manchester United, who defeated City in the recent Manchester derby, West Ham and Southampton. Along with City, those clubs will be chasing the final Champions League spot as Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal all look well positioned to qualify for Europe’s premier competition.

Since announcing Pellegrini was departing in the summer, Manchester City’s form has been poor. They have won just one of their last six Premier League fixtures with defats coming against Leicester, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United, while they were held to a goalless draw against bottom-placed Aston Villa.

With a two-legged quarter-final clash to look forward to in the Champions League against PSG following the international break, the Premier League may not be the priority for the Chilean as he will be keen to win the competition for the first time in his career.

City are away to Bournemouth the weekend before the trip to Paris, while they then entertain West Brom ahead of the crucial second leg against the French champions. It would be no surprise to see Pellegrini rest players in those two Premier League fixtures so if you are having an anytime goalscorer bet in either game, check the teams first.

Rather than a first goalscorer bet, which some bettors favour, it might be an idea to follow the advice of Football Acca who recommend considering anytime goalscorers as better long-term value.

Guardiola would certainly not have envisaged that City would not be playing Champions League football when he signed the contract to take over in the summer.

The announcement for the deal was made in January but negotiations probably took place much sooner than that. Earlier in the season, City looked very much on course to regain the Premier League title. They got off to a flying start and at one stage were five points clear at the top of the standings.

Pellegrini’s final season at the Etihad Stadium now looks likely to be one to forget. The only way he would cement his place in history at the club would be to win the Champions League. City have never been beyond the last eight of the tournament but they face a tough task with PSG. The French side have already wrapped up Ligue 1 and eliminated Chelsea in the last 16 with a 4-2 aggregate win.

If City do not finish in the top four in the Premier League table, they would need to win the Champions League in order to gain entry in the 2016/17 tournament where they would get the chance to defend their crown.