Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year: Covid still isn’t over, and Manchester City are still good – like, really good.
Pep Guardiola’s City side head into the 2021/22 campaign as favourites in most competitions they will take part in and, quite frankly, will expect to end the season with as much silverware as possible, having come close to achieving the quadruple last time out.
Although the club will enter a new era without Sergio Aguero in their ranks, the acquisition of Jack Grealish and the ongoing pursuit of Harry Kane show that Guardiola has no intention of lifting his foot off of the gas.
So, can City continue their dominance and even improve?
In: Jack Grealish (£100m), Scott Carson (free)
Out: Sergio Aguero (free), Eric Garcia (free), Taylor Harwood-Bellis (loan), Marlos Moreno (loan), Jack Harrison (£11m), Lukas Nmecha (£11m)
2. Kyle Walker
3. Ruben Dias
5. John Stones
6. Nathan Ake
7. Raheem Sterling
8. Ilkay Gundogan
9. Gabriel Jesus
10. Jack Grealish
11. Oleksandr Zinchenko
13. Zack Steffen
14. Aymeric Laporte
17. Kevin De Bruyne
20. Bernardo Silva
21. Ferran Torres
22. Benjamin Mendy
26. Riyad Mahrez
27. Joao Cancelo
33. Scott Carson
34. Philippe Sandler
35. Patrick Roberts
47. Phil Foden
53. Samuel Edozie
69. Tommy Doyle
80. Cole Palmer
81. Claudio Gomes
96. Ben Knight
98. Yan Couto
Right, how long have you got?
Obviously, there are key players all over the field for Guardiola’s side. Ederson has been arguably the Premier League’s stand-out goalkeeper since his arrival, Ruben Dias has quashed any of the side’s defensive qualms after being introduced to the back line, and then you have the attack.
Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez proved to be match winners throughout City’s Premier League and Champions League journeys, while Kevin De Bruyne continued to play with talismanic prowess following his return from injury around the turn of the year.
While all of the above will undoubtedly be integral to City’s efforts of remaining a level above their competitors this term, it will be fascinating to see how Grealish fits into the side too.
His switch to the Etihad to line up alongside such a talented group could help the 25-year-old develop even further and eventually become a standout star in Guardiola’s side.
It’s safe to say that, outside of cup competitions, not many youngsters will be able to break into Guardiola’s first-team squad – unless their Foden-esque.
However, there have been a couple that have caught the eye throughout the Cityzens’ pre-season preparations. Samuel Edozie scored in all three friendly matches against Preston, Barnsley and Blackpool, while showing the technical prowess need to play under Guardiola.
The 18-year-old was outshone, however, by fellow Under-23 player Cole Palmer when City faced Leicester in the Community Shield. The 19-year-old demonstrated the fantastic technical ability, movement and awareness that makes punters sit up and notice of a young player.
There has been talk of Palmer heading out on loan this season but, should he stay, there’s no doubt that Guardiola will give him opportunities in the senior set up – the City boss is a huge fan, after all.
Live TV broadcasts have been chosen for games up to the end of October, other dates and/or kick-off times after that point remain subject to change.
15 August 2021- 16:30 – Tottenham vs Man City (Sky Sports)
21 August 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Norwich
28 August 2021 – 12:30 – Man City vs Arsenal (BT Sport)
11 September 2021 – 15:00 – Leicester vs Man City
18 September 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Southampton
25 September 2021 – 12:30 – Chelsea vs Man City (BT Sport)
3 October 2021 – 16:30 – Liverpool vs Man City (Sky Sports)
16 October 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Burnley
23 October 2021 – 17:30 – Brighton vs Man City (Sky Sports)
30 October 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Crystal Palace
6 November 2021 – 15:00 – Man Utd vs Man City
20 November 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Everton
27 November 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs West Ham
30 November 2021 – 19:45 – Aston Villa vs Man City
4 December 2021 – 15:00 – Watford vs Man City
11 December 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Wolves
15 December 2021 – 20:00 – Man City vs Leeds
18 December 2021 – 15:00 – Newcastle vs Man City
26 December 2021 – 15:00 – Man City vs Leicester
28 December 2021 – 15:00 – Brentford vs Man City
1 January 2022 – 15:00 – Arsenal vs Man City
15 January 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Chelsea
22 January 2022 – 15:00 – Southampton vs Man City
9 February 2022 – 20:00 – Man City vs Brentford
12 February 2022 – 15:00 – Norwich vs Man City
19 February 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Tottenham
26 February 2022 – 15:00 – Everton vs Man City
5 March 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Man Utd
12 March 2022 – 15:00 – Crystal Palace vs Man City
19 March 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Brighton
2 April 2022 – 15:00 – Burnley vs Man City
9 April 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Liverpool
16 April 2022 – 15:00 – Wolves vs Man City
23 April 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Watford
30 April 2022 – 15:00 – Leeds vs Man City
7 May 2022 – 15:00 – Man City vs Newcastle
15 May 2022 – 15:00 – West Ham vs Man City
22 May 2022 – 16:00 – Man City vs Aston Villa
Home: A kit with a little reminder of that Agueroooooooo goal…
Away: A kit dedicated to using the global power of football to help combat the water challenges the world is suffering in the present day.
The Cityzens were already a phenomenal outfit coming into the new campaign – even without Aguero. Now, with the addition of Grealish their depth in forward areas is pretty damn frightening.
Having said that, their rivals have also used the transfer window to strengthen. Manchester United have acquired Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho and now look like serious contenders, while Chelsea’s imminent purchase of Romleu Lukaku makes them a terrifying prospect under Thomas Tuchel. Therefore, a big name number nine signing to lead the line – where they are undeniably weak – could be necessary to really keep daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.
Whatever happens between now and deadline day, Guardiola has a great squad at his disposal and anything short of silverware will be considered disastrous. They will be pushing for a domestic treble, just like the other elite sides in the top flight, and will be committed to finally sealing that Champions League crown after heartbreakingly falling at the last hurdle last term – whether or not their chance at continental glory has been and gone, however, remains to be seen.
Premier League champions, Champions League semi-finals, domestic cup win.