Manchester City have started the new season from where they left off last term. After a record-making campaign that left England stunned, the challenge is to replicate the performance or go one better. It will certainly be difficult as other teams are gearing up to mount a more serious challenge this time around.
Liverpool and Chelsea have made their intentions clear with record-breaking signings leading to the commencement of the new season. Results on the pitch have also been promising for the two sides. The stability and strength in depth of the Tottenham squad cannot be overlooked also.
Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli remain two of the best midfielders in the league. Both are in sublime form. Last season’s signing Lucas Moura is on course to rebuild his reputation after being overlooked for years at Paris Saint-Germain.
Harry Kane just ended his August hoodoo after netting against Fulham in a comfortable 3-1 win. The two-time Premier League golden boot winner had never scored for Tottenham before, in the month of August. That’s a good sign for the club as Mauricio Pochettino hopes to challenge City for the title.
Manchester United have not had the best of starts following their 3-2 loss to Brighton on Sunday. But José Mourinho’s achievements in the game show writing his side off so early could be a huge mistake. Never mind United’s failure to win a single trophy last time out and the rumoured unrest in the team.
The twenty-time league champions have become used to winning. The Portuguese manager is under pressure to deliver at Old Trafford. If anyone can pull up a surprise by upstaging the Citizens, it is definitely José. You don’t think so? Well, let me remind you United were the only side to beat City at home in the league last term.
Worse still, they stunned City while at it coming back from 2-0 down at halftime to win 3-2. Guardiola’s side proved the league title is not won in August or September the season before last. City romped to a ten-match unbeaten run at the beginning of the season on to capitulate when least expected. Guardiola ended the campaign clinging on to a fourth place spot.
All the same, a lot has changed since then. City’s performance last season showed the Catalan has built a monster. The team’s performance against Huddersfield will send shivers down the spine of any contender.
The Sky Blues were keen to make amends as they came unstuck against the Terriers last season at the Etihad Stadium labouring to a barren draw even though the title was already in the bag. The first leg was equally a tight affair as City had to rely on a late Raheem Sterling strike to come from a goal down at halftime and win 2-1.
David Wagner deployed the same tactics that served him so well in the last campaign. Who wouldn’t when those same tactics helped his side avoid the dreaded drop? But Pep Guardiola is not one to allow his own ‘failure’ to continue. Sergio Aguero’s stunner opened the floodgates in a 6-1 demolition as the Argentine grabbed a hat trick.
That result was a direct response to Liverpool’s 4-0 drubbing of Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham. Jurgen Klopp holds a superior head-to-head record against Guardiola. But beating him to the title over a 38-game campaign is what he has not been able to accomplish. It’s unlikely it will happen this season despite breaking transfer records, if City continue this way.
Chelsea beat London rivals Arsenal 3-2 to maintain a perfect start under new manager Maurizio Sarri. But the Blues were far less convincing. A failure to take their chances condemned Unai Emery men to a successive league defeat. It’s a bad start that could ultimately cost the Gunners even a top four finish this season.
Tottenham are yet to face a real test but even without Kevin De Bruyne, they are no match for City. Even on paper. Spurs’ situation is not helped by Pochettino’s inexperience when it comes to winning trophies. The Argentine is yet to win his first trophy in the game as a manager.
That makes it very likely that City will dominate England once again.