Last season: 3rd
If Manchester City had been able to defend they would have probably won last season’s Premier League title at a canter.
Pep Guardiola’s debut season was undermined by a backline that conceded more than a goal a game, while defensive catastrophes also cost them in Europe as they were dumped out of the Champions League by Monaco in the last-16 despite hitting five past them in the first leg.
The manager has moved to solve some of those problems, signing three full-backs for a combined fee of more than £100million and a goalkeeper, although the issue at the heart of defence still remains.
John Stones and Nicholas Otamendi have never looked fully convincing since their own big-money arrivals, while club captain Vincent Kompany has missed too many games though injury over the last few seasons.
Their attacking prowess will win them plenty of games, however.
A forward line that includes talents such as Serio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and David Silva is better than anything else in the division and would cause any of the top teams in Europe problems.
If they can keep them out at the other end they will be unstoppable.
Glass half full: Manchester City have moved ruthlessly in the transfer market to solve their problem positions. Pep Guardiola values attacking full-backs and in, Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker the Spaniard has gone out and bought three of the best in the world. Ederson should give them a more reliable goalkeeper, while the manager himself has had a year in the Premier League and will have a better understanding of the demands of the division.
Glass half empty: While City have undoubtedly gone out and bought some quality players it will take them some time to gel. The club are yet to address the centre-back position and could be exposed by the better teams who are able to withstand the club’s impressive firepower.
New kids on the block: Bernardo Silva – Monaco, Ederson – Benfica, Kyle Walker – Tottenham, Douglas Luiz – Vasco da Gama, Danilo – Real Madrid, Benjamin Mendy – Monaco.
Left the building: Pablo Zabaleta – West Ham, Enes Unal – Villarreal, Gael Clichy – Istanbul Basaksehir, Jesus Navas – Sevilla, Willy Cabellero – Chelsea, Bacary Sagna – released, Billy O'Brien – released, Bruno Zuculini – Hellas Verona, Ellis Plummer – released, Angus Gunn – Norwich (loan), Aaron Mooy – Huddersfield, Joe Coveney – Nottingham Forest, Nolito – Sevilla, Callum Bullock – released, Ashley Smith-Brown – Hearts (loan), Angelino – NAC Breda (loan), Bersant Celina – Ipswich (loan), Ruben Sobrino – Alaves, Olivier Ntcham – Celtic, Joe Hart – West Ham (loan), Aleksandar Kolarov – Roma.
The gaffer: Pep Guardiola – The Spaniard has enjoyed phenomenal success wherever he has been but perhaps found life in the Premier League tougher than he expected. City’s third place finish was nothing to be sniffed at but it is doubtful a similar return would be considered enough this season after the club’s major investment over the summer.
Star man: Sergio Aguero – Argentina international Aguero’s goals remains vital to Manchester City. The 29-year-old striker has been the club’s top scorer in five of the last six seasons and City look a much better side when he is able to stay fit. Gabriel Jesus’s arrival has given him competition but expect him to feature in the starting XI more often than not.
One to watch: Ederson – City struggled with goalkeepers last season as Claudio Bravo failed to fill the boots of exiled keeper Joe Hart. Ederson was signed from Benfica for £35million to become a long-term solution to the problem position but is only 23-years-old and his temperament will be severely tested under the Premier League’s spotlight.
First five games: Brighton & Hove Albion (A), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (H), Watford (A).
Premier League Title Odds: 7/4
Top Four Odds: 1/5
Relegation Odds: 2500/1
Top Goalscorer Odds: Sergio Aguero 5/6
Star Bet: Title favourites, and arguably the most attractive team to watch on paper, City have strengthened across the board and have added quality to an already stacked squad. There has been much debate over whether Sergio Aguero is Pep Guardiola’s man up front but he still managed 20 goals in 31 Premier League starts last year and looks the number one option going into the new season. Premier League winner/ top goalscorer double – Manchester City/ Sergio Aguero 10/1