Manchester City 2021-22 – Citizens still looking very good
Winning three EPL titles in 5 years is the stuff of fairy tales. Pep Guardiola has meticulously assembled one of the greatest teams in English football and shown that it is possible to play beautiful football and be incredibly successful too.
This title is his 10th trophy in his five years at Manchester City and the 31st trophy in his illustrious managerial career effectively bringing it to a trophy every 24 games.
Pep and City are a perfect match and it’s hard to imagine them not going on to win more. City are a star-studded side that need little or no improvement.
They only need to be consistent. After losing the UCL final to Chelsea, however, they have everything to play for this season, and here’s a brief look at how things are shaping up ahead of the coming season.
Attackers always get the spotlight, especially in an attacking team like Manchester City. The importance of a good sweeper goalie, however, cannot be overstated and Ederson was the best of the bunch last season.
Nineteen clean sheets in the EPL alone helped him clinch the golden glove and he would have achieved a similar feat in the champions’ league save for Edouard Mendy of Chelsea who beat him to the price and the trophy.
Ederson has been magnificent for City and there are talks that he is set to be rewarded with a contract extension that might see him stay at City until he is 34.
After Claudio Bravo’s contract expired at City, Zack Steffen was recalled from his loan spell and named as second choice goalie in 2020 but there are still doubts about his abilities, and should Ederson pick up an injury, it is left to be seen how Steffen can fill his boots.
City might need to get a more capable second-choice goalie, although it is not a pressing need.
Pep Guardiola’s Achilles heel has always been his defense. And it’s not a problem he is ignorant of as he has gone on to spend $500m on defenders alone in four years.
The arrival of Ruben Diaz for £64m has proved to be the best bargain and the Portuguese star has gone on to become one of the best defenders in the world, winning the league and being named as the premier league player of the season in his debut season.
City had the best defensive record in the land last season, keeping 19 clean sheets and conceding just 32 goals. There is little or no change needed in this department as City are well stock defensively.
Aymeric Laporte was looking like he would leave for Barcelona but with the precarious financial condition of the Blaugrana outfit, it is impossible to see a deal materializing. There is a need for an LB though.
Benjamin Mendy has been flattering to deceive since his £50m move from Monaco and with Zinchenko the only option, it might be time for City to cut their losses and move on for a new LB.
This is the foundation of everything that happens on the field for City. Kelvin De Bruyne is the creative focal point and he has never been found wanting. The Belgian playmaker has gone on to establish himself as one of the best players in the world.
He also has partners like Ilkay Gundogan who was the top scorer at City last season and Phil Foden who was the best young player in the premier league last season.
The Midfield at City is one position that has always been filled with world-class players and it is not looking to end soon especially as City are heavily linked to Jack Grealish.
The Englishman takes an already amazing City Midfield a step higher and this might be all they need to finally win the biggest prize on the continent. The base of Midfield might need to be buffed up.
Meanwhile, Fernandinho is already north of 30 and Rodri is the only option for the holding midfield role. There might be a need to add cover and with the weight of the purse at City, this should not be a problem.
Harry Kane is the dream and at this point, City are actively gearing all their efforts towards the Spurs forward. It is not going to be easy as Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy is always a tough nut to crack, especially when he is not willing to part with a prized asset.
City, however, see Harry Kane as the natural successor to Sergio Aguero and will do everything in their power to get their man.
An attack of Sterling, Kane, and Mahrez will send chills down the spine of a lot of defenders, especially as they might have Kevin De Bruyne and Grealish pulling the strings of creativity from the Midfield.
After missing out on European glory last season, City are looking to spend circa £200m on reinforcements so they will need to win the UCL to justify all these.
A top 2 finish and the UCL trophy is the only way City can be said to have succeeded this coming season.