Manchester City’s imperious hold over the Premier League looks poised to continue in the 2019/20 season.
Pep Guardiola’s men possessed few weaknesses in their run to a second-straight crown last term, becoming the first side since Manchester United in 2009 to defend the title.
City have not been forced into drastic changes in their squad. Instead, they’ve been able to solidify their team, making strides to ensure that the club remains dominant for the foreseeable future. Rodri was signed for £62.8m from Atletico Madrid to provide security in front of the backline.
The Spaniard appeared to be City’s only business of the window before they moved for Joao Cancelo. It was one in and one out as Danilo switched places with the Portuguese at Juventus, with City paying an additional outlay of £26m. The Brazilian was hit and miss during his time at the Etihad Stadium, while Cancelo brings an attacking flair that Guardiola craves from his full-backs.
City’s business has strengthened their hold of the top-flight crown and it will take a truly special effort to knock them off top spot. Even Liverpool’s brilliance last season was not enough, mustering the most points ever recorded by a runner-up since the formation of the Premier League in 1992. As a result, City are the leading contenders once again in the Premier League title odds. There are no obvious chinks in their armour, although the depth of their forward line could be an issue.
Leroy Sane has already gone down with an injury sustained in the Community Shield. City have confirmed that he damaged his ACL, but haven’t revealed the extent of the injury or how long he will be out. It would leave Guardiola slightly low on options as alternatives to ease the goalscoring burden on Sergio Aguero and company.
Sergio Aguero is targeting two records in the 2019/20 #PL season ?
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 31, 2019
Aguero has been outstanding during his eight years at the Etihad, although at the age of 31, City may have reached the stage where they will have to manage his workload. He has averaged 40 games per season as well as representing Argentina during summer tournaments. Aguero has been flawless under Guardiola, but the Spaniard will be wary of placing too much pressure on his star man.
Gabriel Jesus has to pick up more of the slack after taking over the number nine shirt. He only scored seven goals in the Premier League last season and will have to prove that he is a capable successor to Aguero, scoring with regularity and at crucial moments.
Raheem Sterling has been excellent under Guardiola with his output in the final third. He has netted 35 times in the last two terms in the Premier League, and although he scored while playing through the middle in the Community Shield, the contest also revealed his propensity to waste chances. Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva provide more options in wide areas, but goalscoring isn’t their main asset.
It might not matter in games where City will dominate against the lesser sides, but if Aguero does take a step back with age, Sterling alone might not be able to carry City to the crown. It’s a nit-pick criticism, although one that could cause the club’s reign as champions to end come the end of the season.