Manchester City are set to start their Premier League title defence away at Tottenham Hotspur on August 15 in the brand new top-flight season. Before the season opener at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Sky Blues will lock horns with Leicester City in the FA Community Shield on August 7 at the Wembley Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ran away with the Premier League title in May, when they finished 12 points ahead of cross-town rivals Manchester United to bring back the trophy they lost to Liverpool a year before. But they had a wobbly start to the 2020/21 season, winning just two out of five league games.
It took until late November for City to get some momentum, and following the thumping 5-0 victory over Burnley, they simply became difficult to stop. They went on a 19-game unbeaten run in the league following the victory over Burnley before Manchester United halted the City juggernaut at the Etihad Stadium on March 7.
Nevertheless, it was too little, too late for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as Manchester City had already opened a big game gap by then. The 2020/21 title triumph was the Sky Blues’ third in the last four seasons under Guardiola.
Here are three reasons why Manchester City will retain the Premier League title.
1. Strong defence
Manchester City enjoyed the best defensive record in the division that saw them concede only 32 goals.
The arrival of Ruben Dias from Benfica transformed City’s backline, and his partnership with the rejuvenated John Stones made Pep Guardiola’s side almost unbreakable. Right-back Kyle Walker and goalkeeper Ederson also had stellar campaigns, providing the sturdiness City needed at the back to win the coveted piece of silverware.
The left-back position was a bit problematic, with Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko sharing the responsibilities. Benjamin Mendy kept himself relatively fit but failed to get regular opportunities. However, with the Frenchman putting in encouraging displays in the pre-season so far, City could finally get some consistency at left-back and a defence capable of winning another league title.
2. Squad depth
The Cityzens undoubtedly have the best squad in the Premier League, perhaps across Europe. Guardiola has the luxury of selecting two different teams but equally effective ones only due to his squad’s excellent quality and depth.
Guardiola’s team has gelled brilliantly and everybody is clear about his role in the grand scheme of things. The Sky Blues will be determined to erase the inconsistencies with which they started the last term and go for the kill from the starting week of the 2021/22 campaign.
A 100% start in the first three games of the season is the least Guardiola would expect from his boys.
3. Jack Grealish and Harry Kane could be their potential signings
Manchester City have been linked with a host of players all summer but are yet to sign a player, unlike their direct rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.
Well, Guardiola has prioritised the signings of Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish and Tottenham Hotspur ace Harry Kane. City are understood to have launched a £100m bid for acquiring the services of Grealish, as Guardiola looks to shape his squad before the transfer window slams shut on August 31.
Sergio Aguero’s departure to Barcelona on a free transfer in July has weakened City’s attack. Guardiola is keen on signing Kane to replace Aguero up front. The Cityzens are ready to spend £130m on Kane, £20 less than that of Tottenham’s actual valuation but with the England international trying to force through a move away from the north London club by failing to report back to pre-season training this week, City’s position has only been strengthened.
It remains to be seen whether or not City manages to pull off both the high-profile deals, but the early signs to the rest 19 of the top-flight clubs aren’t promising.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.