Table Review: 1st, 100 points, 32 Wins, 4 Draws, 2 Losses, Goals For: 106, Goals Against: 27, Goal Difference: +79.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero, 21 Goals
Manchester City were simply sublime in 2017-18. With the best manager in football, a phenomenally deep squad, and quality in every position, they were unstoppable. The football that City played was majestic at times, simultaneously carving up the opposition, whilst being stingy in defense.
Kyle Walker and Ederson proved valuable first team signings, slotting straight into a much-improved defense. Benjamin Mendy endured a tough season, sitting out with a torn ACL. Danilo impressed when called upon, as did Bernardo Silva.
Records tumbled. City racked up 18 consecutive wins last season, destroying the previous mark of 13. The Citizens also broke Chelsea’s mark for most goals in a season, setting a new total of 106. Chelsea previously had 103. Most points, 95. Best goal difference, +79. The list goes on and on.
So do the superlatives for last year’s title winners, who’s triumphant season set the standard for this year’s edition. All eyes are on City in 2018-19.
IN: Riyad Mahrez – RW – €68M, Philippe Sandler – CB – €2.5M, Daniel Arzani – LW – €900K
OUT: Angus Gunn – GK – €11.3M, Joe Hart – GK – €3.9M, Olarenwaju Kayode – ST – €3M
Riyad Mahrez was the only major business of the window for Manchester City. His 68 million euro transfer, on reflection, seems a little unfair. Like the rich, stealing from the poor. Indeed, Mahrez will join an embarrassment of riches on the flank, in a squad that already boasts Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva.
Other signings include the promising Philippe Sandler, brought in with the future in mind. Daniel Arzani, who was the second youngest player at the World Cup, behind Kylian Mbappe, represents a smart purchase. The exits of Angus Gunn and Joe Hart can also be seen as smart business, freeing up Claudio Bravo as the clear backup behind Ederson.
It’s fair to say City didn’t even need to add to their squad in 2018-19. Yet, they couldn’t help themselves. Mahrez will add even more depth to the squad, as they look to challenge for the peak of club football, the Champions League.
Predicted Starting XI
Any combination of players that City should field will be viewed as worthy of selection. Indeed, each and every position on the field is backed up with a player of immense ability. Fabian Delph will slot into a utility role, picking up whatever role he may be allotted. Vincent Kompany and Aymeric Laporte are both elite options in central defense, to compliment Niklas Otamendi and John Stones.
Kyle Walker will beat out Danilo for the position on the right, though they will likely be heavily rotated. The midfield three of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho will remain stable, as they look to repeat the efforts that secured City’s dominance. On the left and right wings, it’s anyone’s guess. Sane and Mahrez are likely to be preferred, but any combination will suffice. A fit Sergio Aguero remains first choice.
Overall, City’s squad is full of talent. It’s full of class, full of experience, and full of hunger. There’s depth, there’s world-class talent, there’s youth. This is undeniably the most complete squad in the Premier League in 2018-19.
Table Prediction: 1st, 87 points, 26 Wins, 9 Draws, 3 Losses, Goals For: 85, Goals Against: 29, Goal Difference: +46.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero, 23 Goals
It’s tough to see any team overrun City, especially towards the end of the season. Deservedly favourites to retain their title, there will be no surprise if Pep’s men hoist the trophy come the end of the season.
Nonetheless, it’s hard to see the Sky Blues repeating the dominance they showed last season. Liverpool and Chelsea added key players to their squads in the offseason, and as football adapts, it is hard to remain at the top. With a target on their backs, expect each of the big six to make it hard. Wins won’t be easy to come by.
It may well come down to the final few matchdays in 2018-19, but Manchester City seem to have too much poise. Too much experience. Too much Pep.
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Article Images: Sportingnews.com, Skysports.com
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