Premier League favorite? Last Manchester standing


After two months of summer holidays, hundreds of millions of pounds spent in the transfer window and a intense pre-season training programme, soccer clubs vying for the Premier League title 2017/18 better be ready to hit the ground running.

City's away form was impressive last season, earning more points on the road than any team apart from eventual champions Chelsea.

Such expenditure has raised eyebrows in some quarters, but Guardiola insists the expensive revamp of his squad was necessary... "It's normal that the players and supporters are going to be celebrating for a period of time, but we have had to come down to reality", Brighton boss Hughton said.

Pep Guardiola promised Manchester City would rein in its unprecedented levels of spending after overseeing an outlay of approaching $500 million in his first year in charge.

"People say in the first news conference we are favourites".

Newcastle just had a team to win the Championship and not to play in the Premier League.

'In the last three games we have scored ten goals against top teams and conceded just one.

Bookmakers are slightly more cautious than last summer, but at 15-8 there's no doubt that City are the clear favourites for Premier League glory.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. The opening match against Brighton should allow us to see Pep's tactics for the rest of season. Jurgen Klopp's men appear to be somewhat unsettled, with Barcelona in hot pursuit of attacker Phillipe Coutinho, while Watford breaks in a new manager and a few new players at home.

The formation allows an extra man in midfield, which has proved to City's advantage in warm-up victories over Tottenham, Real Madrid and West Ham.

Guardiola could start with Jesus and Sergio Aguero up front, given he has used a 3-5-2 set-up for much of pre-season, which suggests Walker and Danilo are to be deployed as wing-backs. I like that. He is a humble guy - he's so intelligent, which is a huge quality. Again I think goals may be a problem for Brighton without many proven Premier League goalscorers in there.

With Man City spending around £202m on first team players and an astonishing £159m spent exclusively on defenders and goalkeepers, it would appear that Pep Guardiola finally has the right back line and goalie at City.

Muric, 18, is also slated to join the travelling party down to the south coast as third-choice goalkeeper, replacing Angus Gunn, who provided cover last season but is now on loan at Norwich. "Hopefully, next season I'll be here, and now we're not going to spend how we have spent this season I assure you that".

There should not be any shoehorning of players into unfamiliar roles this season after Guardiola signed three top-level full-backs - Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo - at a combined cost of around £124mn (B5.35bn).

City will be without Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan for the match at promoted side Brighton on Saturday, but Guardiola said they were close to returning from injury. "[The current players] are young and will stay for the future". The turbulent history of this fixture will tell them not to count their chickens before they are hatched, however. "Sooner or later it's going to finish".