Manchester City begin the new 2020/21 season, hoping to challenge again on all fronts.
Manchester City slipped last season from the high standards they had set under Guardiola in the previous two campaigns. It is a clear representation of just how far City have come that a trophy return of the Community Shield and a League Cup somehow appeared underwhelming.
Last season City lost more games than anticipated, often in a similar pattern where despite dominating possession we were exposed by counter attacks. At times it appeared other teams had discovered our kryptonite.
Solidifying our defensive backline and increasing our already impressive goal return had become the focus of our Summer transfer recruitment policy. Whether we have achieved sufficient in either regard is out for the jury to decide at the moment.
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It still feels at this point as though further recruitment is required to mount a comprehensive challenge on all fronts in a truncated and busy new schedule.
However, we have better squad depth than most of the top 6 Premier League sides and if we manage a campaign without serious injury to key players, we should see the benefits of our squad depth.
So, what can we expect from City for this season?
In the Premier League, things will be much closer than last season. No one side will run away with the title and I would expect the champions to be undetermined until the last few games.
There are two periods which will determine the eventual winner. The first 8 games may see one side build a 5 point lead which this year would be enough to carry a side through to the busy xmas schedule. That December/January period will be the second defining part of this season.
I believe City will carve out a 5 point lead within the first 8 games as Liverpool stutter in their defence but this lead will be reduced by January, with the lead changing between 2 or 3 sides. However, City will put together the run necessary to carry them to the title.
City should add to their domestic cup trophy haul this year in either competition but the squeezed calendar could see heavy squad rotation. Progress may depend upon whether fringe players seize their moments to excel.
The Champions League may well continue to be an enigma. Last year may have represented our best chance to win the trophy and it is likely our passage to the latter stages may be more challenging. The minimum requirement for City should be last 4.
Our 2020/21 season predictions are:
Premier League : Winners
FA Cup: Semi Finals
Carabao Cup: Winners
Champions League: Semi Finals