It is absolutely no surprise that Manchester City are odds-on to repeat as Premier League Champions. Pep Guardiola’s side are the dominant force domestically and not much has changed heading into what could be a very successful 23/24 campaign…
Last Season: Champions
Top Scorer: Erling Haaland (36)
Transfers In: Josko Gvardiol – RB Leipzig, £90m, Mateo Kovacic – Chelsea, £25m.
Transfers Out: Riyah Mahrez – Al-Ahli, £35m, Yangel Herraera – Girona, £5m, Ilkay Gundogan – Barcelona, Free, Benjamin Mendy – FC Lorient, Free.
First game: Burnley (A)
I’m pretty sure that if you offered most fans of Manchester City an exact replica of the 22/23 season then they would happily take it in a heartbeat.
A season with a world class young striker who always showed that he could be a real difference maker every time he stepped on the pitch was the icing on the cake of an already phenomenal side.
Before the start of last season I was working elsewhere and I asked a colleague about the young Norwegian’s prospects when it came to being into my fantasy team. He informed me that no foreign player had ever won the Golden Boot in their first season as a Premier League player and to avoid picking him. I’m a fool. I listened to him.
The 23 year-old scored 36 goals in 35 matches last time around. My rudimentary maths puts that as better than one a game, which isn’t too bad I suppose. He is by far and away the leading candidate to win the Golden Boot again and he’s odds-on just likes his team is to lift the Premier League trophy.
Away from Haaland, one of the big differences last year was the form of Jack Grealish who after the World Cup seemed to fully grasp what his manager wanted him to do. His performances from the left-side were a significant boon to City’s attacking prowess and there is every reason to think that he’ll have another fantastic campaign.
One man that has departed however who will be sorely missed is Ilkay Gundogan. The German midfielder seemed to come up big whenever City needed a performance in the centre of the park but he has swapped Manchester for Barcelona this summer. Mateo Kovacic has come in but that seems like a step down in quality.
As of the time of writing, no deal for Josko Gvardiol had been agreed but between writing and publication, Pep has got his man. Plenty of column inches have been dedicated to Pep’s pursuit of the 21 year-old RB Leipzig centre-back. He’s a Rolls Royce of a player and will likely be the mainstay of the City backline for the rest of his career now a deal be struck. He very much has Vincent Kompany vibes about him and that is certainly not a bad comparison if you are a City fan. Adding a talent like that will be extremely worrying for all those teams looking to close the gap to the Champions.
I’m not going to sit here and go out on a limb and say City aren’t the favourites to win the league because they clearly are. Arsenal were outstanding to push them as close as they did a year ago but it will need a bit of a dip in form plus one of the other top challengers to really up their game for it to not be another successful domestic season at the Etihad.