The return of our beloved Premier League is now just a day away and the question on every football fan’s mind is this: can Man City do it again?
They swept away all that was in their path last season in stunning fashion, dazzling their way to the title whilst becoming the first team to reach 100 points in English top-flight history, as well as winning the league cup.
Are they the best Premier League team ever? Possibly. Pep Guardiola has moulded an outstanding team of pace and quality with strength in depth too, and after winning last season’s title at a canter, finishing 19 points ahead of rivals Manchester United in second place, they can surely do it again. But it may not be as straight-forward as it seems.
Although United have endured a tough pre-season and haven’t made many big signings, Jose Mourinho, Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and co shouldn’t be written off, whilst Chelsea and Arsenal could pose different threats under new bosses Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery respectively. Mauricio Pochettino has been building a strong side at Tottenham for a while now and they still have Harry Kane, but probably City’s biggest danger to the defence of their crown is Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League finalists, Liverpool.
Salah, Firmino and Mane were all brilliant last season, and the addition of Xherdan Shaqiri provides quality strength in depth.
Large sums of money have been paid to bring midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita to the club and drastically improve the core of the team, and the impressive Alisson Becker has been brought in from Roma after Loris Karius’ Champions League final nightmare.
Klopp’s men beat City three times in all competitions last season, and those signings should really improve the team, so if anyone is likely to stop Manchester City, it’s Liverpool – but consistency will be key; the Reds never showed enough of it in 2017/18 and neither did any club but City, and it was their relentless winning that brought them the title comfortably last season. Sure, Liverpool can beat anyone on their day, but they’ll have to improve to match Man City’s incredible winning consistency.
Pep’s sides haven’t let up in previous years, not being content with just their first title, so he’ll hope to keep the hunger in his players and the addition of club record £60m Riyad Mahrez should remind the likes of Sterling, Sane and Bernardo Silva that they will have to work for their place.
Two brilliant Sergio Aguero goals saw them ease past Chelsea in the community shield last week, a game that demonstrated their superiority as the 2-0 scoreline really didn’t do their dominance justice, and also a game where 18 year-old Phil Foden showed his talent throughout, most notably with an assist for Aguero’s first goal.
If Foden can break into the first team and get some games under his belt this season, which will be easier said than done with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva occupying his main position, Pep will have gone some of the way to bringing through young English talent, one of his City tenure’s main criticisms as people suggest that he and City have ‘bought’ success.
But doing what Guardiola has done is not easy, and Man City aren’t the only team in England with pots and pots of money – look at Manchester United last season: on paper, De Gea, Pogba, Lukaku, Martial, Mikhitaryan and Matic could easily have been the core of a title-winning team, but as we know, Jose Mourinho still finished 19 points behind the champions.
Although we have seen some impressive English sides in recent years, it has been a decade since any club managed to win back to back titles – but no one has been as good as Manchester City in that time.
Still with an exceptional squad filled with world-class talent, City will have very high hopes of Champions League success this time out, and should they win the Premier League again, will we be seeing the start of an era of unprecedented domination?