Predicted finished: 1st
This Manchester City side were just a lot better than the others when needed last season, showing far more bottle than their title rivals. Now they've improved themselves in the key areas, such as central defence and midfield, meaning they will be a greater force than before. If Sergio Aguero manages to stay fit this time around, they could be out of sight before the new Chelsea signings settle.
Ins: Fernando (Porto, £12m), Willy Caballero (Malaga, £6m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, Free) Frank Lampard (New York, Loan), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, Undisclosed)
Outs: Gareth Barry (Everton, £1m), Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland), Joleon Lescott (WBA), Alex Henshall (Ipswich Town), Ellis Plummer (St Mirren), Marcos Lopes (Lille, Loan), Emyr Huws (Wigan Athletic, Loan), Thomas Agyiri, Kieran Kennedy, George Swan, Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely (All released) Jack Rodwell (Sunderland, Undisclosed)
When you’ve won the Premier League the most minor of tinkering is required, something forgotten by Roberto Mancini. Brazilian-born midfielder Fernando will add some energy and variety to a midfield pack who were overworked last season, as Fernandinho did most of Yaya Toure’s running. Joe Hart’s position has come under threat with the arrival of Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Manuel Pellegrini’s former club Malaga, but he does look short of being a top class quality stopper.
Pablo Zabaleta might be allowed a few more rest days thanks to Bacary Sagna joining on a free transfer to add to the ex-Arsenal contingent in East Manchester. One key issue last season was the derth of centre-backs at the club, as Pellegrini didn’t fancy Joleon Lescott, who was allowed to leave on a free, and Matija Nastasic was repeatedly injured.
After a very shaky start Martin Demichelis showed he could cope with the rigors of the Premier League, but maybe not the Champions League. Now Eliaquim Mangala has completed his protracted move to England, he will almost certainly be Vincent Kompany’s regular partner in the heart of defence, adding the athleticism that Demichelis lacked last season.
Frank Lampard's six-month spell at the Etihad is a no lose situation for the Citizens, as the England international's experience will almost certainly win them a game or two.
One to watch
If that little lad Sergio Aguero’s body doesn’t keep giving up on him, he might be useful for City. Otherwise youngsters are few and far between at City nowadays. Last season’s great hope, Marcos Lopes, has been sent to Lille to continue his footballing education in Ligue 1. Karim Rekik is back after a season at PSV, where he was held back by injury. Instead, the standout youngster at the Etihad is £32million summer signing Eliaquim Mangala, who whose power and strength will allow him to settle into the pace of the Premier League quite easily. Hopefully this will be Richard Wright’s year, too.
The engineer has built and maintained a side that won the Premier League during his first year in charge, so is untouchable for that, but this will have to be the year that Manchester City make an impact on the Champions League, something they are yet to do. Pellegrini’s methodical nature has allowed him to identify the few improvements he needed to make to the squad, which have been achieved. Roberto Mancini's failure as boss was his inability to follow up the club's first Premier League title with a competent challenge next time around, so the Chilean will need to keep up the team's levels from last year.
@itvfootball i like how City havent been put down as favourites yet weve not had to make major changes to a team that did the double last yr