After a gruelling few months of summer, the new season is finally upon us.
Although the Copa America was a source of temporary relief, nothing quite beats the glamour of the Premier League. And with millions of pounds splashed on new recruitments, the Premier league promises to be tougher than ever.
Jose Mourinho and Chelsea walked the league last season, as the other title rivals failed miserably. In what appears to be his final season at the club, nobody will be eager to prove a point more than Manuel Pellegrini.
The former Malaga manager is believed to warming the Etihad hot seat for Pep Guardiola, who is tipped to take charge next summer. Having failed to make his mark in the Champions league for two consecutive seasons, City hierarchy believe they need to look elsewhere for European success.
Manchester City have arguably the best squad in the country, with considerable depth all round and will be the main obstacle for the defending champions from London.
While cross town rivals, United, went out and bought themselves a whole new midfield, City’s strategy is pretty simple.
Pellegrini seems keen to build around his current set of players and clearly believes that a couple of intelligent additions can do the trick for the Citizens.
Having spent 49 million pounds on the Liverpool attacker, Raheem Sterling, City are now linked with a move for Wolfsburg midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne. Further, departing midfielder James Milner has been replaced with Villa star, Fabian Delph.
Other low profile incomings so far are Enes Unai, David Faupala and Patrick Roberts.
After a dramatic title winning campaign in 2013/14, City ended last season with a disappointing title defence and were eight points adrift of the champions, Chelsea.
Despite the high profile signing of Raheem Sterling and perhaps De Bruyne in near future, there is a lot of work to do for Manuel Pellegrini.
Manchester City season preview 2015/16: What went wrong last season?
One of the key issues with Manchester City last season was their defending. Vincent Kompany, who was widely regarded as one of the best centre backs around disappointed last season.
Further, new signing Elaquim Mangala, the most expensive defender in world football, struggled to fit in. City’s reluctance to add some defensive depth this season has come as a bit of a surprise considering their problems last season.
Martin demichellis is not getting any younger and there are plenty of questions being asked about Kompany’s decision making and positional sense.
Despite scoring the most number of goals in the country, City were always at an arm’s length from Chelsea. It is beyond doubt that the defensive performances separated the winners from the runners up.
City’s season was rightly summed up by Burnley winger George Boyd, after their loss at Turf Moor last season.
“If you get in their faces they don’t like it and they have several players who don’t track back as much as they should,” Boyd said. “Liverpool noticed the same thing and exploited it. You can usually find space if you know where to look.”
City are comfortably the best attacking unit in the country and with the addition of Sterling, they are likely to improve on their strengths. However, the lack of a commanding backline could prove costly.
Manchester City season preview 2015/16: What needs to change?
Pellegrini’s side is good enough to win the league, even without any defensive additions, provided the ones at the club can exorcise their demons.
City will need their stars fit and firing every week. Yaya Toure’s inconsistency and Sergio Aguero’s injury issues will need addressing if they are to paper over their cracks.
Also, if the likes of Kompany and Mangala can sort out their defensive issues, Chelsea will have quite a challenge catching up with Pellegrini’s goal machine.
Manchester City season preview 2015/16: Prediction:
Manchester City are likely to improve on their goalscoring from last season. The addition of Sterling and a fit Sergio Aguero will help.
The Argentine is finally over his muscle injuries following a change in diet and is ready to light up the league playing week in week out.
David Silva’s goalscoring seems to be improving every year and the Spaniard is now more complete as a player.
Personally I expect City and Chelsea to fight it out for the title once again with the others falling behind early. If I had to pick one, Manchester City seems like a decent bet.
Chelsea are yet to strengthen on their title winning team and that could change in the next few weeks, but as of now, Manchester City should be able to knock Mourinho of his perch next season.