Manchester City returned to the top of English football last season when finishing top of the Premier League. Pep Guardiola’s men ended well clear of runners up Manchester United in second and, in doing so, wrestled the crown from Liverpool.
Attention now turns to their bid for two-in-a-row and what would be their fourth title in five seasons. Traders at all leading betting sites expect them to do just that, and bettors looking to gamble on the league outright market will find Man City nailed on as solid favourites. They are odds-on with all respected betting apps, and the money continues to come in support.
Pep splashes the cash on Grealish
That stance is a confident one from those holding the purse strings, but it’s hardly surprising. The Cityzens have dominated English football in recent seasons, but fans would have been most impressed by how they bounced back from losing the crown to Liverpool. Pundits predicted an extended period of dominance for Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, but the Reds’ run lasted less than a year.
Pep has enjoyed another season backed by his board, and the decorated coach has had no problems spending it. The blockbuster signing of the summer was the £100m transfer of England fans’ favourite Jack Grealish. It was a drawn-out affair that lasted most of the summer, but Villa were in no position to knock back such a staggering bid.
City got one of their main summer signings, and Aston Villa received the kind of income that will allow them to reinvest in the playing squad. Moves between two clubs in the same league is never ideal for fans, but this transfer looks like a perfect match for both clubs, and Villa manager Dean Smith can now get on with ticking off his targets.
The clock is ticking on Kane deal
The second of Pep’s two summer targets remains a work in progress, but the clock is ticking. A deal taking Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad Stadium has dominated transfer news since the conclusion of Euro 2020. The club has already proven that money is no object, and at least another £150m will be required to convince Spurs to part with their star striker.
The player seems keen on a move. City has made no secret of the fact they want him in time for the new season, and Tottenham know there’s little to be had from fighting it and trying to hold back a man who has already begun planning his move to a new club. There’s little doubt Kane would have remained professional throughout, but when a team like City wants a player and makes their intentions clear, they usually get their man.
As well as getting one of the best strikers in the world, proven at Premier League and Champions League level, City also makes a statement of intent for the coming campaign. They show money can buy happiness but can it buy success? Fans think not, but the cash-rich champions of England are doing a fine job of proving them wrong.
Early grudge match
On Sunday, 15 August, Man City began their defence when travelling to London to play Tottenham in a 16:30 GMT kick-off shown live on television to a global audience. This is an early-season grudge match, and it’ll be interesting to see which colours Kane wears for the opener if he is stripped at all.
Fans return to the Etihad less than a week later when Man City host Norwich from 15:00 before finishing the month of August with a home match against Arsenal. Nine points is the target, and it’s one the fans will expect to achieve.
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