Manchester City are back for more.
Unsatisfied with recording the two highest points totals in back-to-back seasons, they boast a relentless winning mentality that seems near-impossible to halt.
However, captain Vincent Kompany – one of the finest defenders in the Premier League era – has moved on, meaning there’s bound to be a measure of apprehension going into the 2019/20 season without their constant rock.
Pep Guardiola will expect perfection (or close to it) once again, but how are City really shaping up ahead of the new campaign?
RadioTimes.com has rounded up everything you need to know about Man City ahead of the 2019/20 season.
A wonderful Asia tour and some wonderful strikes!
Which was your favourite pre-season goal?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 29, 2019
Where did Man City finish last season
1st. Ninety eight points. Ninety eight. Yet there’s still room for improvement.
Remarkably, City lost four games in the season – including three in December – while Liverpool recorded just one defeat all year… at the Etihad.
Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero led the charge in terms of goals and assists, but the supporting cast of Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva among others all chipped in with healthy goal tallies to nudge City over the line.
Who is Man City’s key player?
Raheem Sterling. Pound-for-pound – or minute-for-minute – you’ll not find a more deadly Premier League striker than Sergio Aguero.
However, Sterling has etched double figures into both his goals and assists columns over the last two seasons and has the potential for even greater results as he naturally refines his final product.
With Eden Hazard out of the picture, there’s barely a more frightening prospect for a top flight full-back than Sterling in full flow.
Who is Man City’s biggest summer signing?
Rodri (£62.5m). The former Atletico Madrid star will bring bite and aggression to City’s midfield as lynchpin midfielder Fernandinho’s involvement declines due to age.
Rodri stands at 6ft3, notably taller than Fernandinho, and is the closest thing Guardiola will get to Sergio Busquets without signing Sergio Busquets.
The 22-year-old doesn’t have the engine of an N’Golo Kante figure, nor does he need to. He’s a smooth operator who can dictate the tempo of those ahead of him with effortless style.
The world is transfixed on potential mega-deals for Neymar, Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale, but City may have sailed under the radar to make the most important signing for an elite level club all summer.
Who is Man City’s manager? Meet Pep Guardiola
There’s not a lot that hasn’t already been said about the masterful Spaniard.
You know for a fact that he has already banished memories of the champagne supernovas following City’s domestic treble last season and he’s already got his mind focused on a clean sweep once again.
The Champions League may take priority this time around, but it won’t satiate Guardiola’s hunger for every trophy on offer.
Man City fixtures – The start
August 10th: West Ham (A)
August 17th: Man City v Tottenham (H)
August 25th: Bournemouth (A)
Man City fixtures – The run – in
2nd May: Bournemouth (H)
9th May: Watford (A)
17th May: Norwich (H)
The fans say…
RIC TURNER, BLUEMOON
What is the mood like among fans going into 2019/20?
Confidence is high amongst the fans after such a successful campaign last season, in which we won an unprecendented domestic treble.
Vincent Kompany will be a big loss, both on and off the pitch, but the arrival of Rodri will provide some much needed cover for the ageing Fernandinho.
Who will be your key player this season?
Kevin De Bruyne has looked sharp so far in pre-season, and it will be a huge boost if he can stay fit after his recent injury troubles.
With his vision and creativity, the Belgian is arguably the finest player in the league.
Any young talents to look out for?
Phil Foden should see more game time this season as David Silva enters his final year at the club.
As a local lad, and an academy graduate, it is important for the club that he establishes himself as a first team regular. He certainly has the ability to do so.
Leroy Sane continues to be linked with a move away. Should City entertain the idea selling him?
Sane is an outstanding talent, and is only likely to get better and better given his age.
It would be hugely disappointing if he were to be sold, but presumably the club won’t risk letting him run down his contract and leave for nothing in two years time.
I’m still hopeful that he will sign a new deal in the coming months!
Can City realistically improve this season after recording the two highest points totals in Premier League history?
I’m not sure it will be possible to improve on the points total of the last two seasons, although Pep Guardiola is a perfectionist so I wouldn’t rule it out!
We have a relatively young squad so there is still scope for improvement, although I expect a more robust challenge from some of our rivals this time around.
I think one of the main aims this season will be to progress further in the Champions League, where we have fallen short in recent years.
Where will you finish in the Premier League?
Where will Man City finish? RadioTimes.com says…
The depth in City’s attacking ranks is ferocious, with wave upon wave of versatile midfielders and forwards ready to be moulded into Guardiola’s designs.
However, do not underestimate the impact of City losing Kompany.
He was trusted above all throughout the 2018/19 run-in, and while Aymeric Laporte is a world class talent to build a defence around, there remain question marks over John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, while Benjamin Mendy still has much to prove at left-back.
It will be another white-hot battle at the top, but if City run deep into the Champions League knockout rounds, will they have enough resilience at the back for another title race dogfight with Liverpool?