Manchester City had the ultimate misfortune of going through exquisite pain at the end of last season. Their supporters rejoiced at the efforts put in reclaiming their Premier League crown which had been surrendered so meekly to Liverpool the year before. Many felt Liverpool were playing so well, it would take time before any club could wrestle it from their grasp. Yet, City persevered, and despite not playing with a recognised striker in most games, with their fierce cross-city rivals Manchester United trailing in second place.
Hopes were high going into Manchester City's first-ever Champions League final. However, unfortunately for them, they were to face fellow Premier League club, Chelsea. Chelsea had the experience of playing in the final before and also seemed to have a psychological edge over Manchester City in some respects, having beaten them in important games previously. Punters who utilise matched betting would have been able to make a profit in what was a very tight game which eventually finished with a victory for the London side, leaving City supporters to wonder what might have been.
Can They Do it Again?
City will be looking to win the league again to assert their dominance, having won it five times now in the last decade, yet they may not have it all their way next season. Despite trailing off mid-season, Chelsea finished quite strongly under the leadership of their new manager Thomas Tuchel and not having won the title themselves since 2017, are keen to strengthen to develop their championship bid. City may find themselves with another threat to deal with other than their traditional rivals Manchester United and foes in recent years, Liverpool.
Liverpool will be keen to put a nightmare season behind them in which their hopes of maintaining consistent success suffered a resoundingly quick end. Manchester City to their credit kept plugging away and despite a poor start themselves, responded admirably when all teams around them were imploding under the demands of a tough season and opened the door for City to allow them to catch up. With 15 consecutive Premier League wins, Manchester City kept their cool and used their experience and guile to ensure they would be crowned champions once again, yet other teams inconsistencies helped them also.
A Solid Team
Manchester City has a reliable team, with star players all over the pitch. A rock-solid defence forms the backbone of their team, with the capture of Ruben Dias from Benfica looking to be an inspired signing. John Stones also seems to have reinvigorated his career and the news that versatile club captain Fernandinho has signed a contract extension was an important announcement due to the experience and calm he brings to the team and also his willingness to cover almost any position. The creative players in the team have been very productive but due to injuries or simply his love of tinkering with formations, Pep Guardiola has tended to change these players around quite a lot.
Kevin de Bruyne appears to still be very much the focal point in this area, although the emergence of rapidly rising star Phil Foden gives a warning about the relentless skilful style of Manchester City. There have been rumours that both Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez are available on the transfer market but it remains to be seen if either will leave. Gabriel Jesus is a much more likely candidate to make way, unfortunately failing to deliver goals regularly and not up to City's standards.
The Need to Sign a Striker
At the time of writing, Manchester City has still not made any new signings in this summer's transfer window. Euro 2020 may have hindered their progress, along with other clubs and pressure will be mounting to get someone in the door if indeed Guardiola chooses to. As mentioned, defensively the club appears strong, yet the departure of club stalwart Sergio Aguero, leaving after ten years of service, will make the signing of a prolific new striker a priority if they wish to continue the glory times. Despite finishing as highest scorers last year, it was felt their task of challenging for the title could have been made easier with a recognised striker. Names such as Harry Kane of Tottenham or Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund have been mentioned as potential signings and if you have a particular fancy, be sure to check out the betting odds at online sites like nettikasinot on either player to make a move before the end of the transfer window.
The Spectre of Jadon Sancho
In an unfortunate turn of events for Manchester City, rivals Manchester United are amid their own charge to regain the title. Having had a highly successful spell in the 90s and 00s, they have not been crowned Premier League champions since 2013. Finishing in second place last season, many felt United would challenge until the end, only to fade away due to player tiredness and inconsistent performances. A lot was demanded of playmaker Bruno Fernandes who appeared to be single-handedly spurring the team on.
There was a player United wanted to strengthen the team even further and as fate may have it, he is a former Manchester City player. In a long drawn out saga and only recently signed to Manchester United for a fee of £73 million, Jadon Sancho may make the club regret letting him go in the first place. He has improved dramatically in his spell at Borussia Dortmund and if he can inspire United to challenge for the title, questions will be asked of City's decision making. Fans are very worried about the impact this player will have on their cross-city rivals.
The improvements made by clubs such as Leicester and West Ham, performing strongly and finishing high up the table, will not make City’s task easy. While traditional big clubs such as Arsenal and Spurs struggled, chances are they will return stronger next season. Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea will be all keen to strip the title from Manchester City’s grasp. While City appears to have a lot of depth in their squad, a lot may depend on signings made during the transfer window. While not imperative, it would be helpful if they could start strongly next season. There's no point in making their task even harder and next time, their rivals may not slip up so easily.