Manchester City Premier League Odds & Predictions 2017-18 Season
If new signings are a statement of intent, then there is one hell of a press conference being held at Manchester City! Over £200 million spent already and the noises coming out of the Etihad Stadium claim that Pep Guardiola hasn’t finished yet. Spending doesn’t guarantee results though. We assess Manchester City’s chances this season.
What’s New at Manchester City?
It would probably be easier and quicker to talk about what isn’t new at Manchester City! They seem in a perpetual state of flux but they are a club that demands results and will be desperate to claim the Premier League trophy, a trophy they last lifted aloft in the 2013-2014 season. Oh and Wenger signed a new contract!
Ins and Outs at Manchester City
City are similar in their approach as Chelsea are; they have enough players out on loan to fill a couple of football teams and with a world-class academy and very big pockets, this is only going to increase. This season alone they have 11 players returning from loan.
It is however the cash signings that make the headlines and the defence has had a very expensive makeover. In comes Benjamin Mendy at left-back for £48.88m, Kyle Walker is a great but expensive addition at right-back for £44.35m, another right-back that has joined is Danilo who is a £25.5m buy from Real Madrid. When you factor in keeper Ederson at £34m, Douglas Luiz in central midfield at£10.2m and Bernardo Silva on the right wing for a healthy £42.50, you can sense determination (or desperation!).
Manchester City’s Ideal Lineup
Ederson, Stones, Kompany, Walker, Mendy, Fernandinho, D Silva. De Bruyne, B Silva, Sane, Sergio Agüero.
Aims for the Season
There is no doubt in my mind that City will be there or thereabouts come Sunday 13th May 2018. The team has quality running through it and Pep will be aiming to bring the title back to Manchester.
I really wouldn’t be surprised if City bid over £100m for Kylian Mbappe. That is a scary thought as the youngster is one of the hottest prospects in the game and has the potential to be the one of the next generation of world class players akin to Messi and Ronaldo.
It’s no secret that Manchester City’s owners are wanting to be crowned European kings and that might be the only obstacle to winning the league. Yet, if anyone has the squad to compete on four fronts then City have. You always fancy City in the cups, a good FA cup run is likely but like all the big boys, I will be surprised if the EFL Trophy is not used as a way of rotating the team.
Tactics Used by Pep Guardiola
Pep has been regarded by many as a master tactician from his time at Barcelona and Bayern. He is not afraid to switch formations two or three times during a game. Indeed, in his first 26 games at City, he used eight different systems.
The most successful formation used was 4-3-3. This was used against Stoke, West Ham and Manchester United and City won all three of these games. With such a win rate using this formation it seems a bit strange he abandoned it.
Pep has already stated he intends to utilise a back three this coming season. Again, quite surprising as they only drew 1-1 with Everton when playing 3-4-3 and lost to Leicester 4-2. When using 3-4-2-1 they drew with Southampton and lost 3-1 to Chelsea.
In Europe, they didn’t fare much better using a back three, using 3-5-1-1 they drew with Gladbach. A 3-5-2 was used against Celtic and they could only draw 1-1.
Weaknesses and Strengths of Manchester City
Manchester City like possession football and use short balls to control the game. A strength they have is the quality of the through balls and using pace on the wings. Defence was the weakest part of the team but as you know Pep has spent big to galvanise the defence, how long it takes for the new guys to settle could have a big impact on their season.
Upfront, City have a great dilemma with a choice of Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus, either of these players would walk into any team in the Premier League. You do feel that City could do with another striker to cover injuries. You would expect the youth academy that cost over £200m to complete would be able to provide that.
Pep’s has a tendency to change tactics and when it works, it works well. However, there were times last season when his players seemed confused and unsure of the role they were supposed to play. This certainly had an impact on their season and it will be interesting to see if he “tinkers” as much this year.
Most Important Players for Manchester City
Ederson – Buying a keeper who is not used to the Premier League is always a gamble but City have used their pre-season well to get Ederson climatised. His first game against Manchester United was a poor start as his mistake let in Romelu Lukaku to score. In his next two games though he was awesome and an indication that Ederson could be the solution to City’s goalkeeping problem.
Gabriel Jesus – There are few players that I am excited to watch but Jesus is certainly one of them. His goal scoring ability is excellent as shown by his goal return of 7 in just 8 starts. Gabriel is a flexible player that can play on either wing or used as a centre forward. He has only been used as an attacking right winger in one game but in that game, he scored and assisted and received a 9.4 rating. Sadly, injury reduced his appearances last season but the boy looks one hell of a player.
Sergio Agüero – Sergio is a goal scorer and there are few better strikers anywhere in the world. Last season he scored 5 goals in 6 games in the Champions League, 5 goals in 5 games in the FA Cup and 20 goals in 25 starts in the Premier League, a rating of 7.39 and 8 man of the match awards. His contribution will be vital.
Last Season’s Results
Finishing third last season will be considered a failure by the rich owners at City. It was of course Pep’s first season in charge and his first taste of the Premier League. However, finishing third did mean that City qualified for the Champions League without having to play a qualifier.
Beating Barcelona 3-1 was a huge victory, but on the flip side, a 4-0 defeat at Everton showed Pep that major changes were needed.
Where Will Manchester City Finish?
At the beginning of the article I stated I expect City to win it or be very close. With City having so many new recruits, it may take time to settle so the start of the season will be very interesting. It was intriguing watching an interview with Pep discussing how he will be using a back three, this was a bad choice last season but he may have bought the players to cope. 888sport have Manchester City as 9/5 favourites, and if they do sign Kylian Mbappe or Alexis Sanchez then you can expect these odds to fall even further. Another bet to consider is the top scorer in the Premier League and you can get 13/2 on Agüero. A tasty one is Gabriel Jesus at 9/1, I’m tempted to have a few quid on that myself!