Manchester City
Manchester City will face a tough challenge to become only the third team to retain the Premier League title Getty Images

Last season

Premier League: 1st

FA Cup: Sixth round

League Cup: Winners

Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero (28)

Summer's work

Arguably Manchester City's finest piece of business this summer has been tying down captain Vincent Kompany and David Silva to five-year deals while holding onto the imperious Yaya Toure - presumably with crates of confectionery. Manuel Pellegrini finally landed Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala for £32m to accompany his defensive stalwart captain and Joe Hart now has competition in the shape of former Malaga 'keeper Willy Caballero, despite the Argentine's less than convincing showing against Arsenal in the Community Shield. Bacary Sagna is a sensible signature - and it keeps the club in line with Financial Fair Play sanctions - and Fernando will add bite and composure to the league's best midfield.

Manager – Manuel Pellegrini

Absurd losses to Cardiff and Aston Villa in the opening months of last season threatened to undermine Manuel Pellegrini's grip on an egotistical dressing room. However, the Chilean - known as 'the Engineer' - earned their respect, and that of the Etihad faithful, with an expansive style of swashbuckling football, coupled with an altogether more compassionate style of man management than headmaster-like predecessor Roberto Mancini. One concern for City is Pellegrini's record against Jose Mourinho. The 60-year-old is 7-2 down in head-to-heads with the Special One, including home and away defeats last season.

Key player – Yaya Toure

For all of the bizarre comments coming out of Toure's camp this summer - as well as murmurings of a move to Paris Saint-Germain - the Ivorian remains the driving force in what can be an indominable City line up. The 31-year-old chipped in with 24 goals as City won the league last year, goals that took on added significance as Sergio Aguero struggled to shake off injury. He failed to make an impression at the World Cup as the Ivory Coast were dumped out at the group stages but, much like Toure's trademark runs, once he gets up and running this term it'll be difficult to stop him.


City are looking to become only the third team, after Chelsea and Manchester United, in Premier League history to retain the league title. Blessed with the best squad in the league, Pellegrini is able to battle on four fronts this year, with progression in the Champions League high up the club's priority list if they are to ever better their co-efficient sufficiently to avoid a 'Group of Death'. The absolute minimum expected of City is silverware, but what they end up clutching come May next year depends on where Pellegrini choses to focus his resources.

Prediction – 2nd

A closely run title chase with Chelsea will see Mourinho pip Pellegrini. Again.