Manchester City’s David Silva (left) in action during the UEFA Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb on October 1 2019 (PA Images)
Can the Cityzens still become the first team to win the Premier League trophy three years on the spin in over 10 years? Get our Man City betting tips and the latest Manchester City betting specials here.
Have we seen a better team in the history of the Premier League than Manchester City have been in the past two seasons? For our money, no. Pep Guardiola’s first campaign in England was a transitional one that provided a real learning curve, but in the following two seasons his side were irrepressible, amassing 198 points over the course of the two campaigns to win the Premier League title on both occasions.
Last year, the Cityzens were completely dominant in English domestic football, not only winning the Premier League trophy but also lifting the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup and the Community Shield. The Champions League, however, has proven to be elusive to Guardiola since he left Barcelona and the disappointment of their dramatic quarter-final exit to Tottenham Hotspur will serve as yet more motivation to progress in the competition this term.
Manchester City Betting Specials
To win the league – 14/1
To win the Champions League – 7/2
To win the FA Cup – 5/2
To win the Carabao Cup – 2/7
Sergio Aguero to be Premier League top scorer – 14/1
Kevin de Bruyne to win PFA Player of the Year – 4/1
As expected, Manchester City lifted the Premier League trophy again last season, but few people will have anticipated such a tight title race between them and Liverpool, who of course would eventually go on to win the Champions League. In the end, the Cityzens were the only team to beat the Reds over the course of the whole campaign and it was enough to retain the title on the final day as they finished just one point clear of their rivals in the race for the biggest prize in English football.
Having never won the Champions League before, that quarter-final defeat to a Tottenham side they managed to beat home and away in the league will have hurt the fans and even more so manager Pep Guardiola, who has been questioned regarding his ability in the competition in the last few years. In reality though, it would be churlish to focus on that one fixture in a season that yielded not only a second consecutive Premier League title but also both domestic cups as City lifted both the FA and Carabao Cups.
There are not many bigger names in world football than Pep Guardiola right now. It’s rare for a manager to carry quite so much gravitas as the Catalonian does, but during his time as a head coach he has dominated the domestic leagues of Spain with Barcelona, Germany with Bayern Munich and now England with Manchester City, surely proving himself as the greatest manager in the world at this moment in time.
Not only has Guardiola proved himself incredibly adept at winning trophies but his style of play has also provided a blueprint for some of the best clubs in the world.
The New Arrivals
There have been a couple of reinforcements added to the City squad this season. A few younger players, including American goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Norwegian midfielder Oscar Bobb, have gone on loan and into the development squad respectively, while a buy-back clause was activated on left-back Angelino. The Spaniard left the Etihad Stadium to join PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2018 having spent the majority of his first spell with City out on loan at the likes of NAC Breda and New York City FC.
Kevin de Bruyne (PA Images)
The headline signing of the summer though, and the man that went straight into Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up, was central midfielder Rodri. Seen as the long-term replacement for Fernandinho, the 23-year old Spain international has fit perfectly into the heavily possession-based style and was signed from Atletico Madrid for a club-record fee of approximately £63million.
He was followed into the club by Portugal international right-back Joao Cancelo for £60million from Juventus.
Few English players have had to come through adversity in their careers in the way Raheem Sterling has. Having endured a rather tough upbringing, the forward has come in for all sorts of criticism since leaving Liverpool for Manchester City back in 2015 with a litany of false accusations and allegations levelled at him from the disapproving tabloid media and yet Sterling has not only managed to come through it all, he has continued to develop at an incredible rate.
Last season, he was close to winning the PFA Player of the Year award as he racked up 17 goals and 10 assists in helping to fire the Cityzens to the title and his ability to play in a raft of different roles in Guardiola’s system makes him key to the way this Manchester City side plays. As he continues to grow and develop under the Catalonian manager’s stewardship, he will continue to be yet more and more impressive and defy more and more of those critics.
How can City win that elusive Champions League title?
The one thing Manchester City’s riches have not been able to buy so far is the Champions League title, the most coveted trophy in the whole of European club football. Premier Leagues, FA Cups and League Cups have been racked up since the Cityzens were bought by vastly rich new owners back in 2008 but even under Guardiola they have not made it as far as the semi-final stage, losing to Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Monaco in the knockout stages during his reign.
The desire to lift the trophy is clear for all to see among the playing staff and ownership of Manchester City, but perhaps to nobody more than Guardiola. Perhaps he tinkers too much tactically when it comes to those knockout fixtures and his record in these games away from home leaves something to be desired. City may, however, have the best squad in the world right now, so there is no reason why they should not lift that trophy for the first time this year.
Is Rodri the long-term Fernandinho replacement?
The big-money signing of the summer for Manchester City was Spanish midfielder Rodri, for whom the club splashed out a record transfer fee to sign. Last year, the presence of Fernandinho in the centre of the park was greatly missed when he was forced out of action and with both the Brazilian midfielder and David Silva starting to come towards the end of their careers at the Etihad Stadium, the midfield needed freshening up last summer.
So what do City get from Rodri? Well, last season at Atleti he made 1,927 passes with 91% accuracy and was the only midfielder in La Liga to complete more than 100 tackles. Guardiola himself occupied a similar role during his playing days and is looking to mould the 23-year-old into the role Sergio Busquets has made his own at Camp Nou since first blossoming in the Barcelona first team under Pep’s guidance. Basically, it appears City have found the perfect long-term heir to Fernandinho’s throne.
Where will Manchester City finish this season?
We are backing City to fall short in the Premier League this season. We have seen in the last 10 years how difficult it is for teams to retain the Premier League trophy and so may the hunger and desire to push on and win the trophy again this term not quite be at the same level? To have been pushed all the way like they were last season by Liverpool may prove too much psychologically for City.
Their focus is on the Champions League instead this year, in our opinion, and that may allow Liverpool to steal in for the Premier League.
There is only one team that beats Manchester City to that top spot this term. Liverpool and City traded blows throughout the last campaign before Pep Guardiola’s men eventually pipped their North West rivals to the title but this term, we are backing it to go the other way.
With the Champions League secured last season, the determination to end that long wait for the league title for Liverpool is stronger than ever and with City’s focus perhaps elsewhere, we can see the Blues finishing behind the Reds this time around.
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Manchester City Tips & Betting Specials 2019/2020
Can the Citizens become the first team to win the Premier League trophy three years on the spin in over ten years? Get our Man City betting tips and the latest Manchester City betting specials here.