Manchester City Team Guide: Pellegrini primed for second title

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Team Name: Manchester City

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

Last Season: 1st

Who they’ve signed so far: Fernando (Porto, £12m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free), Willy Cabellero (Malaga £4.4m), Frank Lampard (New York City, loan)

Out of the exit door: Alex Henshall (Ipswich Town, free), Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland, free), Joleon Lescott (West Brom, free), Gareth Barry (Everton, £2m), Emyr Huws (Wigan, loan), Jack Rodwell (Sunderland, £10m)

Star Man: Yaya Toure

The undoubted star of last season’s title winning campaign, Toure ended the season as City’s Premier League scorer with 20 goals to his name.

A powerful and versatile midfielder with lethal finishing abilities, the Ivorian has put those well-documented birthday-related tantrums behind him now and appears keen to avoid a repeat of City’s limp 2013 title defence.

Toure works well alongside David Silva in creating plenty of goalscoring opportunities. The only question mark could be over whether he has recovered from a disappointing World Cup during which he also suffered a family bereavement.

Under the Radar: Stevan Jovetic

Labelled an expensive flop by some after injuries curtailed his impact during a debut season at the Etihad, Jovetic nevertheless showed glimpses of the talent that caught City’s eye two years ago.

Among the best players in Serie A during his time at Fiorentina, despite his issues, the Montenegrin managed eight goals in 20 appearances last term.

Pacy and with bags of skill to boot, an extended run in the team could see Jovetic emerge as a major talent in the Premier League – he just needs to make sure he stays fit.

STICKER OR VIDEO

Team Liability: Aleksandr Kolarov

With Lescott now departed for West Brom and Micah Richards heading for the Etihad exit, it’s not easy to find anything approaching a weak link within the Manchester City setup.

Martin Demichelis appears to have adjusted to life in the Premier League and looked impressive at the World Cup while Javi Garcia is on his way out of the club with a move to Zenit St Petersburg in the offing.

Instead, it’s Kolarov who gets the nod following a couple of seasons at Eastlands in which the Serb has been known to indulge himself in several speculative efforts in front of goal.

When these shots go in, Kolarov looks every bit the stone-faced sharpshooter adored by the fans, but when they don’t he just looks like a plank. And that happens a lot.

Here’s a video of the Serb practicing his shots.

Title Odds: 15/8

Best Bet: Sergio Aguero top scorer / Manchester City to win the league @ 7/1

Our Verdict: City look unlikely to repeat the mistakes of two years ago, with a largely settled squad that has undergone a few minor tweaks.

The signing of Frank Lampard on loan has grabbed the headlines but it’s the arrival of Fernando from Porto that could prove key with a fully-fit Jovetic will feel like a brand new signing for the Citizens.

More players could arrive too but provided the likes of Aguero and Toure maintain their form, helped by goals from others like Edin Dzeko, it’s difficult to see anyone other than Chelsea challenging the Sky Blues.

All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.