If winning is a habit, then Manchester City and coach Pep Guardiola are addicts. Last year’s title success was the club’s fourth in five seasons. Add to that an FA Cup and four EFL Cups, the only silverware to have evaded the Citizens during the Guardiola era is their holy grail - the UEFA Champions League.
To further cement their place in the history books, City will be aiming for a third successive title. Only cross-city rivals Manchester United have achieved this feat in the history of the Premier League - first between 99-01 and again between 07-09.
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Never one to sit idly by, Manchester City have been busy revitalising their squad during the summer window. Eyebrows were raised at the decision to let a once ever-present in England forward Raheem Sterling leave - particularly to rivals as strong as Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Previous regulars in the Guardiola rotation in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have also left to join former City assistant coach Mikel Arteta and his ongoing project at Arsenal. The dressing room will also miss the experience and presence of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, who left the club to return to his boyhood club after nine trophy-laden seasons at the Etihad.
New faces have been brought in their place, of course. The most notable being the effervescent Erling Haaland: a lab-made Number 9 who lives and breathes scoring goals. Before the last campaign had even ended, City were putting the building blocks in place for the current campaign activating Haaland’s £51m release clause.
In the past, strikers have been known to wilt under the pressure of such transfer fees, but there’s little to suggest that situation will transpire here. The two goals he scored against West Ham United at the London Stadium in last week’s opening game of the season an ominous sign for the rest of the league.
In a team that creates both the quantity and quality of chances Manchester City do, it’s impossible to see Haaland not be a success. Elsewhere, Kalvin Phillips has been brought in to add reinforcement to the midfield.
The former Leeds man will provide competition for Rodri and add an additional steel alongside him against stronger opponents. And, last but not least is a player whose immediate impact may have underestimated been underestimated by many.
The highly-sought after Julian Alvarez is another player whose signature was already signed long ago. The 22 year-old scored 34 goals in 74 games at Argentine giants River Plate.