Premier League Preview 2022-23 n.  13: Manchester City

Premier League Preview 2022-23 n. 13: Manchester City

Premier League Preview 2022-23 n.  13: Manchester City

Position predicted by the writers of the Guardian 1st (NB: this is not necessarily Will Unwin’s prediction but the average of our writers’ advice)

Location of last season 1st

Probability of winning the championship (via Oddschecker) 13-18

Perspectives

Winning the Champions League is City’s goal, although anything less than first place in the national team will be a disappointment for a team that aims to set higher standards every season.

Pep Guardiola rocked things a bit and acquired something like a traditional number 9 in the form of Erling Haaland. He is the man who makes a difference in those tight European matches and offers City an option they have been missing since Sergio Agüero was at his best. Winning trophies is what City does today and doing it in style is the only way.

Despite the comings and goings, Kevin De Bruyne will still be the focal point of everything in the squad and his performance will be critical to City’s chances in all four competitions. The Belgian dragged City to the Premier League title last season and is hoping for a little more support from his teammates this time around.

Liverpool’s evolution and improvement will keep City on their toes and ensure at least a two-horse race for the title. City accepts the challenge and there is never any doubt that they will rest on their laurels, hope to do better than last season and have the tools to do so. When you’re used to dominating, giving up is not an option and adding a few new faces should give new energy to a team at the top of their sport.

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Manager

There isn’t much new to say about Guardiola. He will demand perfection and anything less will leave him furious. A backstage staff renewal was required following assistant Juanma Lillo’s departure from Qatar club Al Sadd. Former West Brom midfielder Enzo Maresca has left his role as Parma manager to return to City as a replacement for the Spaniard after previously serving as the club’s Under 23 manager. He should bring some new ideas and a different voice to the locker room to freshen things up. Guardiola is starting his seventh season in office at Etihad, more than many expected when he took the job in 2016 and will be desperate to add a fifth Premier League title. He allowed Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to leave, but he will be optimistic that their replacements can surpass their results.

Coup transfer

City’s small flaws in recent seasons have been obvious to everyone: they lacked a clinical striker. The club thought they would lose Haaland to Real Madrid in the middle of last season, so they will be very happy to see him at Etihad. He has suffered several injuries in recent times, but when on the pitch he rarely passes a game without him scoring. The Norwegian international is only 22 years old but has a lot of experience in the Champions League and Bundesliga, so City will be confident they can play in England.

Impact of the World Cup

It will be a quiet month at the Etihad Campus. As with all elite clubs, most of the City squad will move to the Middle East in hopes of being able to return to Manchester with some form of bragging rights. Gareth Southgate will almost certainly call five City players. That big boy Haaland is going to kick anyway and Scott Carson can make sure he can at least field one team at Ardwick’s The Pits once a week. They are starting Boxing Day in Leeds, which will have enjoyed a quieter month.

Interactive

Alternative attractions during the World Cup

If you miss football, then why not head to the National Football Museum in the city center. Afterward, you can have a novelty-sized gluhwein and bratwurst at one of the many Christmas market stalls to make you want another World Cup match.

Leading T-shirt sales

It’s hard enough to be more popular than Kevin De Bruyne in East Manchester. For seven seasons he has wowed fans with his range of passing, driving runs and ability to fire both foot shots from distance. If he continues in the same vein for another couple of seasons, he’ll join his former teammates by erecting a statue of the Etihad once he’s gone with a myriad of medals in his backpack, which he hopes will include a Champions League triumph. League sooner rather than later.

Social climber

Jack Grealish. The British outsider always seems to be enjoying himself on his social channels. From grabbing Carson at the Premier League trophy parade after a bad joke to going viral for being adorable with fans, Grealish knows what audiences want and there are plenty of lighthearted jokes from the Brummies. He has amassed millions of followers on the three big social networks while his actions increase with the champions on and off the pitch. Who wouldn’t want to see Grealish jig on the Etihad court while Louis Theroux raps? jiggle jiggle.

If City were a Netflix doc …

Jack Grealish: The vacation. City already made their adorable and brilliant doc a few years ago and no one wants to see him again. Grealish would make watching enjoyable, but his PR team may not allow too many scenes to air. It would likely be five minutes at the airport before taking off for Las Vegas, followed by his private pre-season of topless dribbling in the sun.

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