After a summer filled with transfer rumors and sagas, the Premier League is finally returning this Friday when Arsenal play Leicester City, and Manchester City will make their debut against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
City have had their fair share of expensive transfers in Bernardo Silva, Éderson, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker. Even though Pep Guardiola seems to have missed out on a reunion with Alexis Sánchez, the former Barcelona manager strengthened his squad once again to make a run for the league title.
Critics saw last year as a failure for Guardiola, as the Citizens finished 3rd on the PL table and were knocked out in the Round of 16 of the Champions League by AS Monaco even though Guardiola spent over £200 million on transfers.
This year, Pep did the same, but the results will hopefully be much different. Here’s a look at City’s top squad for the season ahead.
Last year, City’s defense struggled to keep many clean sheets, and many problems stemmed from the goalkeeper position. Guardiola brought in Claudio Bravo to replace Joe Hart because he preferred Bravo’s passing ability from goal. However, the move completely backfired as Bravo’s lack of confidence caused him to turn into one of the worst transfer moves of last season in Europe.
Now Pep decided to purchase Éderson Moraes from Benfica, and the Brazilian has sown his wide array of ability during his time in the Portuguese league. Although the Brazilian keeper is still young, he should hopefully blossom into a world-class keeper during his time at City.
Guardiola also spent mad money to sure up the full-back positions. With the departures of Aleksandar Kolarov, Pablo Zabaleta, Gaël Clichy and Bacary Sagna, City were left depleted in defense. Soon enough, though, Pep brought in Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker to help fill the holes that clearly hurt City’s title hopes last season.
Hopefully the depth at center-back should be enough, with Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones likely to constantly rotate throughout the season. As always, Kompany’s health will be vital to the back line because he completely turned City’s defense around during his glorious return in the second half of last season, and there’s no doubt he’ll give City many more chances to win if he stays healthy.
The City defense looks to rebound from poor performances last season, and with the quality additions to the squad, the Citizens bolster one of the top defenses in the Premier League. Finally.
It could be argued that City have the deepest, most talented midfield in Europe. Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Touré, Leroy Sané, David Silva and Fernandinho can all rotate to form a truly world class midfield in every game.
But there’s more! Pep Guardiola somehow felt that this wasn’t enough, so he decided to purchase one of the best young midfielders on Earth, Bernardo Silva from Monaco. Bernardo can play out wide or in the middle as a Number 10, and he’ll give Pep even more tactical options throughout the season.
Sergio Agüero has been the face of Manchester City’s attack for years, and his title as one of the best strikers in the world is well deserved. However, City found a true gem in Gabriel Jesus last summer.
City’s duo up top will be the primary source of goals for the Citizens, because the two have quite a knack for scoring. Guardiola’s reliable forwards will once again keep City in the heat of the race for the Premier League title. Losing Kelechi Iheanacho might hurt City if no other forward is signed, and an injury to Agüero or Jesus (or both) could kill the team.
Key injuries plagued the team last year, with Guardiola missing Kompany, Gundogan and others for what turned to be a terrible stretch of results around Christmas that killed City’s chances in the league. Hopefully the can manage to stay healthy and put up a fight in all competitions.
Overall, Pep Guardiola has this season to prove himself as a world class manager. He has plenty of talent at his disposal, and anything short of trophies in his second season will be seen as a disappointment for the Citizens. This is his shot at redemption, and he’s got all the tools to prove his worth in England.