Only Arsenal can stop Man City winning the Champions League, says Gunners legend, but Pep Guardiola is full of confidence

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Arsenal may be the only team in the Champions League capable of stopping Manchester City.

That’s at least according to former Gunner Paul Merson who has been less than impressed by the rest of the competition.

Man City made it look easy again in Europe

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Man City made it look easy again in EuropeCredit: AFP

City unsurprisingly steamrolled past Copenhagen in the last 16, winning 6-2 on aggregate after a 3-1 win at the Etihad.

At the same time, Real Madrid struggled past Leipzig, winning 2-1 on aggregate after a match where they were completely dominated by the Germans.

Responding to the two matches of the night, Merson commented: “We take them for granted, the records they put up are phenomenal, all the changes they made tonight and they still go through 6-2 on aggregate.

“Watching Real Madrid who are one of their nearest rivals in the Champions League and they’re falling over the line, it shows you how good Man City are.

“I don’t think they have to prove anything, I think they’ve got more chance of winning the Champions League than the Premier League.

“I don’t see anybody touching them over two legs, Real Madrid tonight, no way, I watched Bayern Munich last night – no way.”

Madrid are second favourites to win the competition according to the bookmakers, behind only City, while Bayern are currently third.

Thomas Tuchel’s side put in a decent display to come back from a 1-0 first leg deficit to knock out Lazio 3-1 on aggregate, but Merson thinks the fourth favourites should instead be higher up.

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Madrid were on the ropes against Leipzig but escaped with a nervy draw

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Madrid were on the ropes against Leipzig but escaped with a nervy drawCredit: Getty

“I think the nearest ones to them are going to be Arsenal,” he said. “I really think Arsenal are the only ones that can push them over two legs. 

“We’ve seen Arsenal beat Man City at home, and if we saw them in the Champions League and they got a goal head start, who knows, so I see Arsenal as the only ones that can beat Man City.”

Arsenal outplayed City in dramatic fashion in October

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Arsenal outplayed City in dramatic fashion in OctoberCredit: Rex

Arsenal face City at the Etihad on March 31, and Merson certainly has a point, with their last meeting at the Emirates in October one of the best displays a team has put in against Pep Guardiola’s City in recent years for a 1-0 win.

However, Guardiola is full of confidence in the Champions League, explaining how far the club has come post-match.

“The numbers are there, the consistency in this competition,” he commented. “I remember when I arrived, we didn’t believe, the club didn’t believe we could do it.

Arsenal could move up the odds if they overcome Porto

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Arsenal could move up the odds if they overcome Porto

“It was a process, step by step because we didn’t have the hierarchy in Europe of teams in England or Spain or Germany or wherever, so it was a question of time, the process.

“The problem is managers of teams in modern football don’t have time to do it, but they gave me time, they gave us time for our hierarchy – that’s credit to them – to accept the processes and now we are a team that believes we can do it.

“We’ll await the draw sitting there and we welcome the opponents we are going to face.”

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