Manchester City have begun their Premier League defence in devastating fashion, dispatching Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates and hammering Huddersfield 6-1 at the Etihad. The 1-1 draw at Molineux is the only blemish on their record so far, but they can count themselves incredibly unfortunate not to have beaten Wolves.
Many of their star players are still recovering from a summer of tournament football in Russia and yet the champions look even better than they did last season. So who can stop the City juggernaut? In this article we look at the clubs setting their sights on beating the Citizens to the Premier League title.
Liverpool: Most pundits consider Jurgen Klopp’s men as the only real contenders for City this season. The Reds performed well in the league in fits and starts last time round and excelled in reaching the Champions League Final. They are the second favourites at 5/2 with 888Sport.
A dodgy defence has been steadied by the January arrival of Virgil Van Dijk and the defensive cover provided by Naby Keita. The goalkeeping issue that caused the side so many problems last season appears to have been rectified too with the signing of Brazilian ‘keeper Allison.
Klopp’s record against Guardiola is the best of any other manager in the Premier League and his squad seems to have the talent and determination to take City all the way. Whether or not they can provide the same level of consistency as Man City remains to be seen.
Manchester United: The short answer to the question, ‘Can Manchester United win the league?’ is no, they can’t. The Red Devils have started the season terribly, scraping past Leicester in their opening game, losing to Brighton away before being thrashed 3-0 at Old Trafford by Tottenham.
A summer of moaning, whinging and downright histrionics from United manager Jose Mourinho has given the club an air of uncertainty and it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility for Manchester United to have parted company with the tempestuous Portuguese by the time you read this article.
Tottenham: Ever since their Stamford Bridge collapse whilst pursuing Leicester for the Premier League title in 2016, Spurs have been eager to prove that they have what it takes to compete with the top sides. However recent years would suggest that Pochettino’s men are lacking the mentality required to become Premier League champions.
In crunch games last season against Juventus in the Champions League and Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final, Spurs wilted under the pressure. A summer of no new arrivals doesn’t fill us with confidence that Tottenham can make the step from also-rans to Champions.
Watford: In honesty, we could have gone for Chelsea or Arsenal, but the chances of them beating City to the title seem almost as remote as Watford’s chances. The Hornets have picked up three Premier League wins so far under Javi Gracia and look fluid in attack. Perhaps a repeat of Leicester’s 2016 success could be on the cards?
Although, probably not. The best the Hornets can hope for is probably a 7th-place finish and a decent cup run, much the same as Arsenal!
So who will stop Manchester City’s domestic dominance? No-one, unfortunately. The club have more resources than any other club in the league, the best manager in the world, better players than any other squad and a style of football that appears to have no weaknesses. All that’s left to do is admire the way they play football and lament the loss of competition and intrigue in the English game.