Manchester City 17/18 Premier League Season Preview
2015/16 marked a mixed season for Manchester City. In the Premier League, they were very poor by their standards. Embarrassing losses and poor performances lead to a 4th place finish. It was in the cup games that City truly shined. A semifinal run in the Champions League is no poor showing, and a Capital One Cup win against Liverpool meant that City didn’t go trophyless that season. However, Manchester City’s board saw an offer they could not resist. The opportunity to hire Pep Guardiola as their manager.
The opportunity was so great that Manchester City’s board confirmed that Pep would be their manager for next season before the current season even ended. Pep made a host of changes to his City squad. He signed Gundogan, Sane, Stones, Gabriel Jesus and others. City usually played 4-3-3 under him, as opposed to the 4-2-3-1 they were using in seasons prior. The season started out perfectly for Pep and his side. 10 wins from their first 10 games left the world scared at what could be one of the best teams in history. However, Manchester City’s defensive frailties began to show and their season slowly started unwinding. Despite eventually finishing 3rd and trophyless, Guardiola set a foundation for his side.
Manchester City has spent this summer revamping their defense, specifically in the full back position. Zabaleta, Sagna, Clichy, and Kolarov were all let go by the club. Replacing them were Danilo, Mendy, and Walker, all under the age of 30. By replacing the old guard with young, energetic, attack-minded players, Pep has given his City team another
dimension to attack from. Opposing teams will now how to shift their attention from neutralizing City’s central players to stopping their wide attackers. Pep hasn’t signed a new center back this season because he trusts that his current ones can make a big improvement from last season. Otamendi, Kompany, and Stones definitely have enough quality to make this happen.
In the midfield, City have signed Bernardo Silva from Monaco. Silva’s dribbling and passing ability will be much utilized next season. Silva represents a minor upgrade on the inconsistent Raheem Sterling, but both players will be key for City. With De Bruyne, David Silva, and Sane already stalwarts in City’s midfield, they won’t need much upgrading.
If Manchester City’s downfalls from the 16/17 season can be pinpointed on only two areas, it would be their defense and numerous missed opportunities. City were 2nd in big chances missed this season with 48 great opportunities to score missed. There isn’t much Pep can do to rectify this himself, but the problem will most likely fix itself for next season. On the defensive front, however, Pep has worked hard this preseason improving his team. Along with his favored 4-3-3, Pep has been trying out a 5-3-1-1, a formation that has done well against the attacks of Real Madrid, Tottenham, and West Ham this preseason. That, along with new full backs and new goalkeeper in Ederson, Manchester City’s defense should see a marked improvement from the 16/17 season.
Right now, Manchester City are favorites to win the Premier League next season. Small improvements in their already potent attack and key defensive adjustments make them the team to beat. The only question is what will be Pep’s preferred line up. Will he stick with a 4-3-3 or a 5-3-1-1 for most of next season? Will Yaya Toure or Gundogan get the start at the DM spot? Whatever Pep Guardiola plans to do for next season, Manchester City will be lethal.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Daily Star