20 Days of the Premier League returns with Manchester City, last year’s champions and the prohibited favorites to repeat.
City has won five out of the last 10 Premier League titles and has a squad widely regarded as the best in the world and a manager that is at the top of his field; they have dominated domestically for a decade, and are set up to do it again this season.
Manchester City: Champions of England
Manchester City finished atop the table with 86 points despite mostly playing without a true center-forward for a majority of their matches, opting to utilize Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden through the middle; this did not slow down City’s attack, which ended up leading the Prem with 83 goals. Ilkay Gundogan led the team with 13 goals, a career-best for the German midfielder that was not previously known as a scoring threat.
Center-back and newcomer, Ruben Dias, won the Premier League Player of the Year award, helping to anchor the team’s defense to the best defensive record in the league in his first season in England. Dias’ outstanding performances vindicated his £61.64 million transfer fee and launched him into the conversation for best defender in the world, especially with Virgil Van Dijk’s injury-induced absence.
With the league’s most prolific attack and best defense, it is no wonder the club cruised to the title, leading the league for the final 18 match days of the 38-game season.
Though Pep Guardiola, City’s manager, is still looking for his and the club’s first Champions League triumph, a dream that came up short in a 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the final, their domestic success cannot be argued.
Manchester City Breaks the Bank
Man City broke their transfer record this summer by signing former Aston-Villa winger, Jack Grealish, to a six-year deal after agreeing to a £100 million fee. This move can be viewed through two lenses: one that questions why the club brought in another attack-minded winger or midfielder when they already have an abundance of talent in these positions or one that recognizes Grealish’s supreme talent and the depth that he will add to a club competing on many fronts.
While Grealish is the only big-name player moving to the Etihad, they are linked to Tottenham ace, Harry Kane, who has already requested a move. City has the money to go and get him, though his transfer fee could exceed £150 million and would require them to re-break their transfer fee by 150%. Kane led the league in goals and assists last year, but for a club that is already recognized as the best in the world, his acquisition has not been deemed a necessity.
Sergio Aguero, a legend at Manchester City, departed for Barcelona on a free transfer in the offseason, following a year in which he saw his least playing time; Aguero was as prolific of a goal scorer as the league had seen but has lost a step and become injury prone, and City officially closed his chapter by letting him walk.
Most sportsbooks have Manchester City as the favorites for the Premier League title, and given their recent record, it is easy to understand why. No team has been as consistently dominant as City has been over the past decade, and with an incredible squad and manager, it is nearly impossible to find a chink in their armor.
If City finds a way to lure Harry Kane to sign a contract, then the title is a foregone conclusion; their only real “bogey teams” are Chelsea and Liverpool, the former of which beat them three consecutive times in the final six weeks of last season, while the latter took the title off of them in 2019 by reaching 99 points.
City will be under extreme scrutiny all season, and anything less than a title will be deemed unacceptable— still, they are the early pick to win it all.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.