After failing to mount a serious title challenge for the second season in a row, Manchester City have gone for the jugular option – appointing arguably the greatest manager of his generation in former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola.
The Spaniard will be expected to not only bring his impeccable record of silverware to the Etihad stadium but also the tiki-taka philosophy that has continually accompanied it, which means a huge rebuilding job for the club who had the oldest squad in the Premier League last season.
But time is of the essence and City’s money-mad owners will be incredibly disappointed if Guardiola doesn’t transition the level of dominance we’ve come to expect of him to the Etihad – regardless of how competitive the Premier League has become.
So what are City’s chances of demolishing the rest of the division? A look at their FIVE key fixtures for the 2016/17 campaign should give us some insight.
Manchester City may have got the better of Chelsea last season but the Blues have been their biggest competitors over the last few years. Antonio Conte looks set to bring in a sturdy philosophy that could counteract Guardiola’s.
Another potential title rival who City need to perform better against, winning just one of their last seven against Arsenal. Whilst a defeat at the Emirates is acceptable, losing at home is certainly not.
Liverpool well and truly had City’s number last season, beating them twice in the Premier League with an aggregate scoreline of 7-1. The Citizens need to overturn their fortunes against the Reds and claim at least a point at Anfield.
Just when it seemed the Manchester derby had maximised in its intensity, the Jose Mourinho-Pep Guardiola rivalry has added a whole new dynamic to the mix. Both clubs are likely to be in the race for next season’s title and winning this fixture could resultantly have a huge impact on their chances.
Spurs ran absolute riot against City last season and appear to be a club on the rise under Mauricio Pochettino. Beating the Lilywhites next term will push City towards the Premier League’s summit, but losing could compel them to another season of setting for top four.