There are now just a few weeks before the 2017/18 Premier League season kicks off. Fans of all 20 clubs in the English top-flight will have hopes of glory in the new campaign.
At certain clubs, that means the team must deliver or their boss will be under major pressure.
One said club is Manchester City. Managerial icon Pep Guardiola is now under big pressure to deliver the Premier League title next season.
By his own admission, the Catalan bosses’ debut campaign in Manchester was a major learning experience. It was never going to be easy to turn City into a dominant force in such a competitive league.
The Citizens finished third in the league last season in an underwhelming campaign. Surely another similar campaign will not be tolerated at the Etihad Stadium?
Guardiola has splashed the cash
Guardiola has made good use of the City chequebook this summer to strengthen his squad. The likes of Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and newest recruit Danilo have all cost big fees. Monaco and France full-back Benjamin Mendy looks set to be the next through the City entrance door.
This big spending is not surprising considering that the Citizens have built their recent success they have enjoyed in recent years on spending big money. Guardiola does not have a great record in the transfer market. Well, he did not at Barcelona at least.
However, I do believe that the signings he has made will be successful at City, particularly Silva and Walker. It will be interesting to see how Ederson and Danilo adapt to life in a new league and country.
Bernardo Silva has already mastered the Portuguese top-flight and French Ligue One. The Premier League may be a step up, but the midfielder showed in the Champions League last season just what he could do.
Worked needed on his squad
Many thought the City job is the biggest test of Guardiola’s managerial career. That is not far from the truth. At Barcelona and Bayern Munich, there was a big tradition of winning silverware and he inherited great players at both clubs, including Lionel Messi in Catalonia.
At City, he inherited an ageing group of players. There were also very good players in the group such as Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.
However, for all the teams attacking talents, he inherited a leaky defence. Belgium centre-back Vincent Kompany is a fine leader and centre-back, but he has struggled to stay fit in recent seasons. The likes of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have looked unconvincing at times.
Guardiola had to replace all four of his full-backs from last season, as Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov and Bacary Sagna have all moved on this summer.
The former Barcelona boss looks to have strengthened in those areas with his summer signings. The big question is can Guardiola get his ideas across to the new players in time for City to become a real force next season.
Favourites for Premier League title
Manchester City started last season as title favourites. However, they struggled to live up to expectations and only finished third. Once again, the bookmakers have the Citizens as favourites for the title at odds of 15/8.
Big expectations only add to the pressure on the former Barcelona boss to deliver in the Premier League. Some will say that Guardiola has nothing to prove in his managerial career.
However, if he is not successful at Manchester City, critics will question whether Guardiola was only a success because of his circumstances at other clubs. It would be very surprising if the Citizens did not mount a title challenge next season.
If they fail to win the title, then Pep Guardiola will be a failure in some people’s eyes. Who knows the former Barcelona boss may even be out of a job by next summer.
Will Manchester City win the Premier League title next season?
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