Premier League champion Manchester City has become a serial winner under Pep Guardiola. After winning the UEFA Champions League and completing the continental treble, Man City has removed every figment of doubt against the club.
Though the club looked second-best in most parts of the Premier League season, sitting below Arsenal in the league table, its final push saw it seal the title for the fifth time in six years.
Man City, however, has lost its captain and midfield engine, Ilkay Gundogan, who joined Barcelona this summer and will hope to replace him sooner in its title defence, starting with the opener against Burnley.
Guardiola, as he does in high-pressure situations, has resorted to mind games after losing to Arsenal in the FA Community Shield game at Wembley.
“The situation that we are in, we finished (last season) two weeks later than Arsenal and we start (this season) two weeks later. So, we are not in the best way,” the Spaniard told reporters.
“We struggle to restart every season but it’s fine, and hopefully our mentality can help us to be there and compete.”
Man City’s transfer activity
While City’s most important departure was Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez, City’s most important player off the bench also made his way out of the club for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli.
The club’s most important incomings, on the other hand, were Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea and compatriot Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig.
Gvardiol, the left-footed centre-back, impressed in the FIFA World Cup 2022 with Croatia and is expected to replace Aymeric Laporte, another left-footed defender.
Kovacic, on the other hand, will replace Gundogan.
Man City is expected to stick to its three-men at the back formation with Ruben Dias taking the centre-back role and Gvardiol and Joao Cancelo on either flank.
With Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva rumoured to be looking for an exit, Guardiola will bank his hopes on seasoned veteran Cancelo, who has returned after a loan spell at Bayern Munich.
Kovacic will pair with Kevin De Bruyne in the middle of the park with Rodri and John Stones forming the double pivot while the attack would have Erling Haaland as the No. 9 and Jack Grealish and Phil Foden on the flanks.
Expected starting XI:
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