Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
Following their record-breaking title-winning campaign in 2017/18, Manchester City tightened their grip on English domestic football in 2018/19, adding both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup to their successfully defended Premier League crown.
The Citizens tore through the Premier League like a sky-blue hurricane last season, leaving a twisted, mangled heap of football teams and rivals in their wake.
The dominion they currently hold over English football was never more evident than in their 6-0 dismantling of the best Watford team in years at the FA Cup final in May – and fresh from another campaign that was a hair’s breadth from footballing perfection, City have already started to strengthen.
Highly-regarded Spanish midfielder Rodri was signed from Atletico Madrid for a for a club record £62m fee – a signing that brought Pep Guardiola’s City spend to just under £650m since 2016, and the champions expected more business to be done before August.
Manchester City remain the team to beat and the club to catch in 2019/20, though the all-conquering Citizens don’t look like being toppled any time soon.
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Position last season: 1st
Top scorer: Sergio Aguero – 21 goals.
- Man City only failed to score in 5% of their Premier League matches last season.
- Over 2.5 goals were scored in 74% of City’s home games in the league last term.
- City scored a record breaking 169 goals on their way to winning the domestic treble in 2018/19.
- Manchester City led for a total of 2088 minutes this season – a record in a single Premier League campaign.
Zack Steffen – Columbus Crew – £7.2m
Angelino – PSV – £5.3m
Rodri – Atletico Madrid – £62.8m
Vincent Kompany – Anderlecht – free
Patrick Roberts – Norwich – loan
Fabian Delph – Everton – £10m
Possible Line-up in 2019/20
Player to Watch
Manchester City will hope that club-record signing Rodri will prove to be a natural successor to their long-serving midfield destroyer Fernandinho – and the Spaniard’s statistics from last season suggest that he has the skill set to be just as effective as the veteran Brazilian.
Rodri averaged 3 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 2 clearances per La Liga appearance for Atletico last term, figures that compare favourably with Fernandinho’s 2 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2.4 clearances numbers for the same period.
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The Season Ahead
City’s desperation for continental success
Pep Guardiola has unquestionably conquered the English game, yet success on the continent with his expensively assembled City team continues to elude him.
Having watched Premier League title rivals Liverpool win Europe’s biggest prize in Madrid in June, Guardiola will be desperate for his City side emulate the Reds’ triumph on the continent this season.
However, that desperation and determination to the land the holy grail of club football could lead to City prioritising Champions League success over domestic glory in 2018/19.
That is of course, if City are allowed to compete in the competition….
After a series of high-profile leaks and reports emerged last year detailing possible breaches of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play protocols through deliberate financial deception and manipulation by the club, City were referred to UEFA’s club financial control body to determine whether they’ll be punished for allegedly breaking its rules.
Should City be found guilty of breaching those rules, it’s almost certain that the club will be banned from competing in the Champions League for at least one season.
Alongside the massive financial ramifications that come with being excluded from the tournament, a City ban could have an enormous knock on effect on the Premier League in terms of the title race.
Without continental distraction, City could turn their full attentions to eviscerating their domestic opponents for a third season running.
Legendary Manchester City skipper and defensive powerhouse Vincent Kompany left England to return to Belgian club Anderlecht this summer, leaving an enormous void in terms of quality and leadership in the Citizens’ dressing room.
Replacing Kompany with a like for like player is an impossible task, though City will be keen to add depth and variety to their central defensive options by signing another player in the same position.
Reports this summer suggested that City had lined up a move for Leicester City and England’s Harry Maguire, though the Foxes £80m+ valuation of the 26-year is rumoured to have put the Citizens off.
Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake has also been muted as a possible City signing, though nothing concrete has developed as of yet.
Manchester City Betting Tips
Man City to win the 2019/20 Premier League at 4/6
Manchester City are rightly considered as overwhelming favourites to win the Premier League again this season.
The incredible depth and financial clout at the Citizens’ disposal should again prove a combination too powerful for England’s top flight to handle in 2019/20.
A remarkably consistent Liverpool team pushed City to a last-day title tussle in 2018/19, though you get the feeling that the Citizens’ coattails will be out of reach for Jurgen Klopp’s European champions next season if they maintain the relentless pace they have been setting since 2017.
Manchester City Top Premier League Goalscorer – Raheem Sterling at 4/1
Flying wide attacker Raheem Sterling enjoyed his most productive ever season in front of goal in 2018/19, finishing the season with 25 goals in all competitions for City.
17 of those goals were plundered in the Premier League, a haul that made Sterling the 6th highest scorer in the division overall and just 5 goals shy of joint Golden Boot winners Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
On a more local scale, the only Manchester City player to outscore Sterling last season was Sergio Aguero, with the Argentinian hitman netting 4 goals more than him. Aguero undoubtedly still has the quality, but his advancing years and niggling injury problems could easily catch up to him over the next 9 months.
Sterling is priced at 4/1 to be Manchester City’s leading Premier League goalscorer next season, and all it would take is a particularly prolific run of goalscoring form from the young winger or a few spells on the sidelines for the ageing Aguero. We think this is a fantastic bet, or there’s always a 16/1 shot of Sterling finishing as top overall goalscorer.
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