By their own extremely high standards, last season may be regarded by Manchester City as a disappointment.
In 2018/2019, City won an incredible domestic treble, and only missed out on a Champions League semi-final with last minute VAR heartbreak. However, in the turbulent 2019/2020 season, Pep Guardiola’s men could only muster a defence of the League Cup and FA Community Shield, as arch rivals Liverpool ran away with the Premier League.
Passion is therefore running high in the blue half of Manchester, to try and wrestle some of the glory away from Jurgen Klopp and co. City will have been buoyed by the less than convincing start to the season made by Liverpool, who fell to an embarrassing cricket score against Aston Villa in October.
Consequently, City are early favourites to win the League according to odds on sites like WhichBookie, although Everton, and the rest of the usual contenders, may have something to say about that.
Guardiola was active throughout the short Premier League break, as he aimed to refine his squad and restore bragging rights for both himself and for City. Whilst the Lionel Messi saga ultimately fizzled out, with the Argentinian remaining imprisoned at the Nou Camp, Pep has been industrious in bringing other quality names to The Etihad.
Rúben Dias stole headlines as City’s star singing, arriving from Benfica for around £61 million to steady a City defence still in recovery from the departure of legendary centre back Vincent Kompany. The 23 year old is amongst the most highly rated young defenders in Europe, demonstrated by Dias winning 21 caps already for Portugal. Whilst an injury has so far limited him to a solitary appearance against Leeds United, Dias is sure to feature prominently for City this season, and could be the answer to their defensive woes which saw them lose 9 times last season.
Another arrival to strengthen City’s defence is Nathan Aké who travelled up the M60 from Bournemouth for circa £40 million. The Dutchman is a former Chelsea youth player, and the Stamford Bridge faithful will be incredulous as to how they let this quality centre back go. Aké, who can also play on the left, adds to City’s defensive arsenal, and joins John Stones, Aymeric Laporte as centre half specialists vying for a place in Guardiola’s first eleven.
The final addition of Ferran Torres, a capable young winger from Valencia will excite City fans, and the squad themselves must be confident that another assault on silverware as we’ve seen from City before is once again in reach.
This is how we think City should line up if they want to have the best chance of adding to their swelling trophy cabinet.
GK – Ederson (31)
LB – Benjamin Mendy (22)
LCB – Aymeric Laporte (14)
RCB - Rúben Dias (3)
RB – Kyle Walker (2)
LCM – Phil Foden (47)
CDM – Rodrigo (16)
RCM – Kevin De Bruyne (17)
LW – Raheem Sterling (7)
CF – Sergio Agüero (10)
RW – Riyad Mahrez (26)