Jamie Barker takes a look at last years league champions Manchester City and how they could fare this season.
One title is never enough. Manchester City will be approaching this season with exactly this attitude. Winning the league for the first time in forty-four years in the most dramatic way possible last season, 2012/13 is the season which City wants to dominate.
The summer has been quiet for Roberto Mancini’s side. Jack Rodwell has been added from Everton, but other than their failed pursuit for Robin Van Persie and Daniel Agger, City have been trying to relieve their bloated wage budget. This isn’t a sign that they lack ambition, however, rather this means that instead of looking like a group of individuals more than ever City will be a team.
With Carlos Tevez fully reconciled, the attacking forces at Mancini’s disposal are as intimidating as ever: David Silva and Balotelli return from brilliant performances in the Euros, while the likes of Agüero can come back revitalised after a well earned rest. Defensively there are more positive signs. Joe Hart is ever-reliable, as is the returning Vincent Kompany who will again be needed to lead City through their most testing hours. Assuming Mancini sticks with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, it will be tough to find the Achilles heel to City this season.
Their main threat comes from the red half of Manchester. Ferguson has made a huge statement of intent by signing the mercurial Van Persie and will always be a threat, Chelsea are on the up having signed the likes of Eden Hazard and are looking more settled than ever. More than this though, the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool are coming back, Spurs and Newcastle also look to be tougher chalenges that last year. Not only does it look like the premier league will be more competitive than ever, with no real change in their tactics or their squad, there is a danger that teams will have figured City out.
Mancini was often critisied for being too cautious last season, but he was redeemed in the end but only by the finest or margins. If he wants City to win the league in a dominate fashion, he will have to up his game: Balotelli needs to be delicately managed, as does Tevez. If Mancini can keep order at City, then he stands a very good chance of walking away with the league.