Manchester City rewrote the record books on their way to the Premier League title last season. And their 2-0 win over Arsenal looks ominous for the chasing pack this time around.
We’ve got them at just 8/13 to become the first side to defend the title since 2009. Their performance at the Emirates suggests they could be even more dominant this season.
Mahrez’s instant impact
City’s wingers tended to stay very wide last season. But new arrival Riyad Mahrez cuts inside from the right, opening space for Kyle Walker to race into.
Raheem Sterling and Benjamin Mendy had a similar partnership on the opposite flank.
Arsenal couldn’t cope with their clever movement. Mahrez and Walker gave makeshift left-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles a miserable afternoon before the youngster went off injured. Mendy created both City goals after getting to the byline.
Guardiola also played John Stones and Aymeric Laporte at centre-back together for only the second time in league action.
They could establish themselves as the club’s first-choice defensive partnership. They’ve helped to secure a clean sheet against Chelsea in the Community Shield and now away at Arsenal.
Nicolas Otamendi was one of the best defenders in the division last term. Vincent Kompany is a great leader. But neither of them fits Guardiola’s tactics as well as Stones and Laporte.
The younger duo are both very comfortable in possession, making it even harder for opponents to win the ball back.
Squad ready to step up
Neither Kevin De Bruyne nor David Silva were included in City’s starting line-up against the Gunners. The champions hardly missed them.
Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan took their places and controlled the midfield. Silva in particular now looks ready to become a key player. As his namesake turns 33-years-old this season, he should get more playing time.
Mahrez’s arrival means the manager is spoilt for choice in attacking areas now. And Mendy barely played last season. His return to fitness gives the team another dimension on the left.
If it all comes together, City could storm to the title again.
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