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Season preview: Manchester City

Manchester City news

LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 15: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City speaks with Rodrigo and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Manchester City and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 15, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Michael Regan - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

UEFA via Getty Images

Manchester City news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.

Let’s go!

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

This is our Manchester City season preview, and you can click on the link above to find out exactly how you can watch every single Citizens game live in the USA across our platforms at NBC Sports.

[ PHOTOS: Ranking new kits for 2020-21 PL season ]

Okay, time to focus on Manchester City’s fight to re-summit the Premier League as the oddsmakers’ favorites to win the whole thing.

Manchester City

2019-20 finish: 2nd in Premier League (26W-3D-9L, 81 points) – qualified for Champions League
Head coach: Pep Guardiola
2019-20 top scorer: Raheem Sterling (20 goals)
Location: Manchester

ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Manchester City:

City needs to be reminded that its failures were straight-forward.

  1. They failed in the transfer market during the Summer of 2019 and didn’t have quality center backs when star Aymeric Laporte was injured and also overestimated their left backs.
  2. They produced a bevy of chances but simply weren’t as clinical as they’d been in the past.
  3. Pep Guardiola messed up tactically in the UCL quarterfinal.

If Pep trusts his strengths in big games, the team figures out its left side, and new center back(s?) allow the Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, and the midfield to do what it’s designed to do, City probably wins 30 games (again). Our partners SportsBet have them as healthy favorites to win a two-horse race with Liverpool.

See below, via Understat. The green is good fortune. The red in the points aisle is City.

Liverpool xG

Manchester City news: The current situation

City’s success hinges on two things: Quick adaptation to a new system by new players. City is still in the market for another center back as Jose Gimenez and Kalidou Koulibaly remain linked with a move to Manchester, and Nathan Ake is another center back who will have to sort out Guardiola’s system in a hurry. Ferran Torres is a young buck but still a piece that will need to contribute, while Phil Foden is going to be trusted to drive play more than ever before with David Silva leaving town. City’s management, players, and Guardiola seem to be in full-on “curse you” mode after CAS overturned its European ban, and the recipe of motivation, money, and talent could be venomous to PL opposition.

Key Manchester City news, season objectives

  • Deliver the goals: Man City’s xG total from open play (82) was higher than the expected goal total in all situations for the second-highest team in the league (Chelsea ‘should’ve’ scored 76 times between open play, corner kicks, penalty kicks, direct free kicks, and set pieces). Gabriel Jesus scored 14 times but was expected to score 21. Is City’s failure to become three-peat champs as simple as a lack of focus or poor luck in the box? There sure are a lot of defenders in there.
  • 3 of 4: Return to the top of the table by any means necessary. This is, as legendary Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy liked to say, “simple but not easy.”
  • UCL: Raheem Sterling’s missed sitter will haunt City for a while as Guardiola’s men failed at the quarterfinal hurdle. No Messi, of course, but City still beat a powerful Real Madrid. Can they put it all together this season?

Transfers in

  • Pablo Moreno (Juventus)
  • Ferran Torres (Valencia) More info
  • Nathan Ake (Bournemouth) More info
  • Scott Carson (Derby County) Loan

ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Manchester City in 2020-21

City will be in the conversation for the title and a no-nonsense top four finisher even in the worst of performances given their talent and who is returning in their prime. They will produce more chances than most and finish a good portion of them. Since winning the league in 2011-12, City has finished no lower than fourth and has only gone trophy-less once. It’s illogical to think that changes with Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and Raheem Sterling returning under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage. The question now is whether the club is churning out elite level young talent and Phil Foden is nodding emphatically. Will they win the league? It’s going to be a battle, but City is the oddsmakers’ favorites to do so for a reason. How about the Champions League? Let’s face it: The competition is a crapshoot and the winners each year aren’t even necessarily that campaign’s domestic champions. We’re calling a City double: Premier League and one of the domestic cups.