Manchester City Season Preview
Ahead of the new Premier League season, Sky Sports examines Manchester City's strengths and weaknesses as well as giving you the chance to select your preferred City XI...
By Adam Bate
Last Updated: 14/08/14 11:52am
Can Manchester City defend their Premier League title? Here's the lowdown on what's new at the Etihad Stadium...
Manchester City became Premier League champions for the second time in three years last season and the feeling that they rarely hit top gear must be regarded as a testament to their capabilities. Encouragingly Manuel Pellegrini’s side won their final five games to win the trophy and will be looking to take their form into the new season with Champions League improvement an obvious target. Can they also defend the English title for the first time in their history?
Unusually for a club of such wealth, perhaps the most high-profile signing has been veteran Premier League midfielder Frank Lampard who’ll bolster the options in the centre of the pitch. It’ll be intriguing to see how he fares, although it is the purchases from Porto - Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando - who will surely have a bigger impact in the long term with Mangala becoming the most expensive defender in British football history. Meanwhile, Willy Caballero has replaced Costel Pantilimon as the chief competition for Joe Hart in goal.
Yaya Toure scored an incredible 20 Premier League goals from midfield last season and was so often the key figure who delivered when it mattered, driving City towards the title. His unseemly spat at the end of the season, ostensibly over a birthday cake, has somewhat soured things but if Toure can retain his motivation then he continues to be among the very best midfielders around.
On the previous occasion that City won the league, they failed to show the same hunger second time around and with a number of ageing players in the squad the prospect of them picking their battles could be an issue. After all, the Premier League requires teams to be relentless. City have the ability to do that but will they want it enough against a focused Chelsea and the rest?
Sky Bet Title odds – 2/1
- Manchester City scored 156 goals in all competitions this season, nine more than Chelsea recorded last season (the former record in the PL-era).
- After taking four points from their opening six away games of the season, Manchester City took 30 from the remaining 13 matches on the road.
- Yaya Toure became only the second central midfielder to score 20+ goals in a single PL season (after Lampard in 2009-10).
I expected Man City to kick on and buy some players this summer but when you actually think about it, what do they need? They’ve got Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero through their spine. Eliaquim Mangala will be a good addition and Fernando is a player I like as well. But the key is keeping Aguero fit. They won it last year with him missing a lot of games through injury but he is very difficult to replace. As much as Toure was the man last year, if they are to retain this title – and they’ll want to put up a better fight than the last time they won it, because they were awful in Roberto Mancini’s last year – they’ll need Aguero fit and in form. They’re still one of the teams to beat, no doubt about it, but the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal will come on stronger this time and I think they may finish second.