On February 1st, Manuel Pellegrini announced that he would be leaving Manchester City at the end of the season and current Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola would be his replacement at the Etihad Stadium. Almost immediately, fans started to talk about a Champions League triumph next season under their new boss but why can't City win Europe's elite club competition this campaign?

If nothing else, it would certainly be the best leaving present for Pellegrini and City fans would finally be able to class themselves as one of the continent's top sides.

In the first leg of their last-16 clash with Dynamo Kiev, City produced an A-grade performance to bring a 3-1 advantage back to the Etihad. In recent times, City have been criticised for their inconsistent efforts in Europe. But there was nothing inconsistent about this performance as Pellegrini's men controlled proceedings from the outset to all but secure their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

If and when Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure are all fully fit and bang in form, City are capable of beating anyone on their day and the prospect of a mouth-watering clash against one of Europe's top sides awaits in the next round... If they finish the job.

As of March 1st, City are priced at 12/1 in the UEFA competitions betting markets. Considering their strong position in their last-16 leg, Pellegrini's men will be full of confidence and a favourable draw could see City reach the semi-finals for the first time in the club's history. From there, it's anybody's guess.

There's a strong chance that City may have to beat either Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich at this stage of the competition. However, it would be foolish to dismiss Pellegrini's side completely, especially as it's all ifs and buts at the moment.

"Colin Bell Stand, Etihad Stadium" (CC BY 2.0) by  Gene Hunt

City's spine will be crucial to their chances of success this season. They've already won the Capital One Cup but the Champions League is a different challenge. For City to stand any chance, they will need Aguero, Toure, Kompany and David Silva to avoid major injuries or suspensions.

Ultimately, discipline will also be integral. In previous years, City have hindered their chances of advancing to the latter stages through ill-discipline and you simply cannot afford to do that against the best teams in the world - the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich are simply too good.

It will be difficult but City could well defy the odds and go all the way to this year's final at Milan's Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Pellegrini will be desperate to leave City on a high and what better way to end his career at the Etihad Stadium than with the Champions League trophy? City's flair players, Aguero, Silva and Toure, will all be central to their aspirations but a strong defensive unit is also key to European glory. City have all the right tools and it is time for them to finally step up and claim their place as one of Europe's elite.