With just eight teams left competing in the World Cup, it could be argued that the very best players in the world are left in the competition. After all, a world cup is a test to see who the best teams in the world are.
If that is the case, we might be able to see a glimpse of what the future holds in the Premier League next season because the players left in the tournament in Russia have seen Manchester City highlighted as rightful favourites in next season’s Premier League.
For a start, they were the club team that had the most players representing their side over in Russia. They contributed 16 players to the tournament; the next highest was Champions League winners Real Madrid with 15 and then Barcelona with 14.
That is a show of strength; an indication that not only are they rightful kings of England, but also potential kings of Europe. Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool was a surprise, especially with the Reds having just eight players featuring in the summer showpiece.
However, now the wheat has been separated from the chaff and the cream of world football knows they’re just a few steps from being immortalized in their home country, Manchester City are way out in front with an amazing eleven players still in the tournament.
Remarkably, they could go into the semi-finals with as many as nine shared between the four teams.
Brazil, who despatched Mexico to reach the last eight, have Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson in their squad. They face Belgium in the quarter-finals, who have Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne on their side.
With England making the last eight, Manchester City’s quota goes up even more. Raheem Sterling, and Kyle Walker both started the penalty shootout victory against Colombia, as did center-half John Stones. Fabian Delph is part of the squad, although he was back on home soil for the game as his partner gave birth.
Finally, Benjamin Mendy is part of France’s squad, although he played no part in their win against Argentina.
What does this mean for their Premier League hopes? They’re certainly still favourites in most betting markets and it’s becoming clear that it will take a big push from the chasing pack to usurp the Citizens.
On the face of things, it looks very positive, with Pep Guardiola’s side appearing to consist of some of the finest players in the world, but it also means they’ll barely get a break between the end of the tournament and the start of the new season. If England and Brazil made the final, eight of Manchester City’s side could still be in action in mid-July, despite kicking off a new Premier League campaign three weeks later.
That aside, it does underline the strength that they have at their disposal. Premier League rivals Spurs still have nine players left in the competition, whilst Manchester United have eight.
Oddly Real Madrid, arguably the greatest club side on the planet, has just five players left in the tournament, two fewer than Barcelona and one fewer than city rivals Atletico. Nobody doubts that it will only be of benefit as they look to retain La Liga title once again.
Whatever happens in Russia, the numbers don’t lie, they only serve to prove the absolute strength in depth in the current Manchester City squad. This season must be the one they finally realize their European dream, as well as continue domestic domination.