Darren Bent has talked up Arsenal's chances of displacing Manchester City as UEFA Champions League winners this season

Darren Bent makes interesting argument for who could challenge Manchester City for the UEFA Champions League.

The Gunners have returned to Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 2017. Mikel Arteta’s men got off to a perfect start in Group B with a confident 4-0 win against Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven.

Arsenal have never won the Champions League, the closest they have come to doing so was when they lost 2-1 to Barcelona in the final in 2006. It’s quite an ask for Arteta to lead his side to European glory this season.

However, Bent isn’t counting out the Gunners as he reckons they could be the biggest threat posed to Manchester City whom he deems as favorites. He told talkSPORT:

“I think we (Arsenal) can, why not? For me, City are still the team to beat. But I fancy Arsenal to get a result against anyone else. Real Madrid, yep.”

Bent then alluded to the fact that it isn’t always the stronger teams that advance furthest in the competition. The likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan weren’t tipped as challengers last season but the Serie A giants made it to the semifinals and the final respectively:

“When its a cup competition I think there’s a little bit of luck involved as well. You’re not gonna have Real Madrid and City, sometimes you have a bit of a weaker side.”

Bent was asked whether winning the Champions League is too tall an order for Arteta given he’s still adjusting to management. The Spanish coach took over the north Londoners in 2019 and this is his first campaign in Europe’s top-tier competition:

“(Arteta’s) learnt from his mistakes. I think he’s getting better and better and every manager has to start somewhere dont they.”

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker concluded by highlighting Leicester City’s unlikely Premier League triumph in 2016:

“I understand that (it’s a big ask for Arsenal to win the UCL) but Leicester won the Premier League. Stranger things have happened… There’s no reason why they can’t.”

Arsenal aren’t being touted by many as one of the favorites in the Champions League this season. Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich are the bookmakers’ favorites at present.

City romped to their first European title last season, going the entire campaign unbeaten. Pep Guardiola’s men have started this campaign with a 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists his side haven’t done anything special in the Champions League

Pep Guardiola spoke honestly about Manchester City's 2022-23 UCL win.
Pep Guardiola spoke honestly about Manchester City’s 2022-23 UCL win.

The Cityzens won their first Champions League in style last season, beating the likes of Madrid and Bayern en route to the trophy. Rodri scored the winner in a 1-0 victory against Inter in the final to finally end their long wait for European glory.

However, Guardiola has downplayed the magnitude of Manchester City’s triumph last season. He highlighted the fact that many clubs have won the competition once in history (via BBC Sport):

“For our club to win the Champions League is incredible, but in perspective, how many won one Champions League? A lot. We haven’t done anything special with just one, but we are incredibly proud.”

City not only won Europe’s elite club competition last season but also the continental treble. They became only the second club in English football to achieve the feat following Manchester United in 1998-99.

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