The champions go into the season eyeing their fifth Premier League and their third consecutive title, a feat which has not been achieved since their bitter rivals Manchester United did so ten years ago.
Pep Guardiola’s side have already picked up their first silverware of the season following their Community Shield victory over title rivals Liverpool. Is this a sign of things to come?
Here’s everything you need to know about Manchester City ahead of the new season.
City would not have been expected to improve on their record-breaking 2017/18 Premier League season which saw them achieve 100 points and become immortalised as the ‘Centurions’.
However, despite falling two points short of their own record, the Citizens 2018/19 triumph was their most impressive yet as they beat Liverpool to the title by a single point.
Guardiola’s side showed their mental strength to recover from a disastrous Christmas period which saw them seven points off the lead after three defeats in four games. Winning all of their last 14 games, equalling the record for most wins in a 38-game season (32), City coped with the pressure of Liverpool constantly breathing down their necks to claim their fourth league title.
This achievement was made even more impressive by the fact that the Citizens won the domestic treble without key players Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne through injury.
The only issue with possessing a world-class squad is the disruption caused to pre-season preparations by International competitions. This summer’s Africa Cup of Nations and Copa America caused a significant chunk of the squad to miss tours and arrive late back to training.
Although, such is the strength in depth of the City squad, this had little effect on the serial winners. They kicked off pre-season with a dominant 4-1 victory over West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy; a result they'll be hoping to match this weekend. Analysts from all over the country were then scrambling to work out Wolves’ tactics as they managed to keep a clean sheet against last season’s top scoring side before beating them on penalties.
The Citizens soon returned to winning ways during their Asia tour which saw first team regulars and youngsters combine to deliver comfortable wins over Kitchee FC and Yokohama F. Marinos.
City completed pre-season preparations by beating title rivals Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield last Sunday. Pep would be worried about the amount of chances Liverpool created and grateful that Mohamed Salah’s shooting radar was slightly off. There is clearly still some work to do before Saturday.
As has come to be expected, City have once again spent big in this transfer window. The Citizens have brought in Spanish midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid for a club record fee of £63m. The 23-year-old has already impressed his manager who has earmarked Rodri to be a key player for the next decade.
City have also spent around £11m for Spanish left back Angelino. The former PSV Eindhoven defender will compete with the injury prone Benjamin Mendy for a place in the staring XI. And Joao Cancelo will also compete with Kyle Walker for the right back berth.
Man City will have to learn to how to succeed without leader Vincent Kompany who re-joined RSC Anderlecht after his contract ran out at the Etihad. The Belgian had been a part of every City Premier League triumph, being their rock at the back and scoring key goals like the stunner against Leicester which effectively won the title last season.
Fabian Delph has also left the Etihad, making the move to Everton for around £8.5m. Leroy Sane has been heavily sought after by German champions Bayern Munich this summer but the forward looks to remain at City after the club slapped a whopping £137m price tag on him. Meanwhile, Danilo has also left for Juventus as part exchange to bring Cancelo to the Etihad.
How much time do we have?
City arguably have the best manager in world in Pep Guardiola. The master tactician has found the winning formula for the Premier League and does not want to share it. He has built a squad with tremendous strength in depth, as demonstrated by their domestic treble last season, meaning that injuries to star players is of no major impact.
The Champions were the top scoring side last season with 95 goals and had the second-best defensive record in the league.
Every Premier League side will certainly be eagerly awaiting this as analysts have been tormented for the last two years trying to find the answer.
Can being too good be a weakness? Potentially. City had a virtually flawless record against the top six last season but slipped up against sides they really should have beaten during the busy Christmas period, losing three in four matches which almost cost them the title. Pep may have to focus on ensuring that his players never switch off.
Progression in all four competitions may have caused their dip in form as they became overstretched. City’s desperation to succeed in Europe could also harm their domestic performances.
Other than this, Premier League sides may have to resort to petitioning the league to change the format to a two-legs system which seems to cause City difficulties in the Champions League.
Raheem Stirling and Bernardo Silva were City’s standout performers last season and are expected to deliver in a similar manner during the 2019/20 campaign. David Silva will also look to have a big farewell season while De Bruyne is sure to play a key role after an injury riddled campaign last year.
With the attacking quality that City have at their disposal there is no question that they will score goals, but whether they will win the league or not could come down to the performances of Aymeric Laporte.
The French centre back is expected to take up the mantle of the departed Kompany to be City’s leader and rock at the back. The 25-year-old impressed during his first full season at the Etihad last year, leading the champions in passes, aerial battles won and clearances to earn himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
Potential Breakout: Phil Foden has been on the radar for a while now but the expectations have never been higher for the 19-year-old. With Guardiola calling him “the most talented player he’s ever seen”, ahead of a certain Lionel Messi, and David Silva leaving at the end of the season, Foden must now make the step up to earn himself a regular spot in the staring XI.
Man City and Liverpool were head and shoulders above the rest last season and it would be no surprise to see a repeat, although the rest of the top six may provide a stronger challenge after strengthening this summer.
The only other danger to City’s claim to the title is if they put too much focus on European success and allow their league performances to slip.
But it would take a brave person to bet against City claiming their third consecutive title this season.
Source : 90min