Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said he expects rivals Man Utd to be back in the mix for the top four and maybe even the title next season.
The Citizens kicked off the new campaign with a victory on penalties against title rivals Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in the Community Shield on Sunday. Guardiola revealed after the game that he expects a competitive campaign again this time around.
City’s victory at Wembley: Five things to know…
- Raheem Sterling gave City the lead after 12 minutes.
- Liverpool equalised with 15 minutes to go through Joel Matip.
- A remarkable goal-line clearance from Kyle Walker denied Mo Salah a 92nd-minute winner.
- Gini Wijnaldum saw his penalty saved by Claudio Bravo before Gabriel Jesus scored the winner.
- City won the competition for the second year in a row.
Speaking after the game on BT Sport, the City manager said: “An incredible final from both sides. No team can dominate for 90 minutes. We had real good moments. In the last 15 minutes, we were exhausted and they had chances to win the game.
“It was a good test for both teams. It’s nice for the players to realise what they will face this season. At this level the difference is nothing. One penalty, one point.
“Manchester United will be back, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea… I don’t know what will happen.”
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Can City make it three in a row?
Only one Premier League side has ever won three league titles in a row and, funnily enough, it was City’s rivals and the side Guardiola backs to challenge this year: Manchester United.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, they won it in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09. If any team is capable of replicating that milestone, it is surely City and Guardiola.
With 198 points in two seasons and a domestic treble last term, City are clear favourites again to retain the title. New signing Rodri was outstanding in holding midfield and it appears that the only major outgoing this window will be Vincent Kompany, as Leroy Sane’s starting berth in North West London could signal the end of Bayern Munich’s fervent summer interest.
Liverpool will push them all the way and Spurs also look strong, but no team has ever had a better chance at three in a row than City do this time around.