Can Pep Guardiola work his magic on the blue side of Manchester this term?
If Chelsea hadn’t fluffed their lines so badly last year, you could argue that Man City were the biggest underachievers in the 15/16 Premier League season. Finishing a disappointing 4th, tied on points with their Manchester rivals, the entire squad looked ponderous and slow particularly after the announcement of Pellegrini’s departure.
Only winning 19 of their 38 games quite simply isn’t good enough for a top level side and many City fans wrote the season off long before it was over. On the other hand, the Champions League campaign was much improved on previous years, Aguero still managed to bank 24 goals, just one behind Harry Kane, helping them finish as the Premier League’s highest scoring team with 71 goals.
How did City respond to such a poor season? Pep Guardiola. The much sought-after man needs no introduction and will bring a clear philosophy to the City team, something which looked to be lacking last year. Guardiola has plenty of work to do, probably more than at any other club he’s been at before. Barcelona and Bayern Munich were already world class sides in which the latter only had Dortmund to worry about. City on the other hand will have a host of rivals battling for the title. Coupled with a squad consisting of Raheem Sterling, Jesus Navas, Fernando and Wilfried Bony who would all struggle to make any top 6 side in the Premier League, there is certainly work to be done.
Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito have all been drafted in to address the squad problems and add real quality. Ever-speculated John Stones, who certainly fits the Guardiola mould for a defender, is in talks with City and is 6/17 to move before the transfer window closes. Others linked are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Dortmund), Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras) and Marlos Moreno (Atelico National) along with West Ham youngster Reece Oxford. Aubameyang, who is the most prolific of all just mentioned, has drifted out to 7/1 to move to City, which could well signal a breakdown in a potential deal.
Does this make them favourites for the title? In short, yes. 13/5 is the current market price for City to win the league and it’s difficult to argue with the bookies. The front three of De Bruyne, Aguero and Silva are dangerous as it is, add Sane and Guardiola into the mix and you’d expect a world beating attack. 2/1 sees Man City to be the top scoring team this term.
If you are backing City to be a success this year, 56/1 for City to win the league, Pep to win LMA Manager Of The Year and Aguero to be Top Goalscorer looks a great prospect.