Last season Manchester City won the treble in Europe, prevailing in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and FA Cup. It was a dominant campaign from Pep Guardiola’s side, and after such a successful year, it would be hard for most teams to follow that up with another big season.
The Spaniard has demonstrated throughout his career that he does not accept his players becoming complacent, regardless of how important the fixture is. His side has begun the 2023/24 season with five victories from their opening five games in the Premier League, and they have already netted some silverware, with success over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.
Champions League Remains the Number One Goal
When he was hired by Manchester City in 2016, the primary goal was to win the Champions League at the club. He finally delivered City that trophy back in June when they defeated Inter Milan in the final. City are the +200 favorites in the Champions League betting to defend that trophy.
Guardiola’s side have been drawn in the same Champions League group as RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, and Young Boys this season, and they are likely to be favored in the latest football predictions for those matches. The English club has advanced out of the group stage in each of the last 11 seasons, and it is hard to see them not finishing in the top two in Group G this time.
City is expected to face tougher challengers once they reach the knockout stage of the competition. German champions Bayern Munich added Harry Kane to their squad this summer to improve their chances, while Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona and French club PSG are all expected to be their biggest threat to a repeat success.
New Players Added to City Squad
To freshen up his squad during the summer transfer window, Guardiola signed midfielders Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes. He spent £78 million on those two players, both of whom have lots of Premier League experience having played for Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively last season.
Guardiola is going to be without the services of Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez, and Aymeric Laporte this season. They left for new challenges during the summer. All three of those players were a big part of City’s treble-winning team. As he has said throughout his career, Guardiola has never stopped a player leaving his squad if they feel they want to move on.
The movement of City’s former trio of stars will ensure there are opportunities for some of the fringe players from last season to get more game time this year. Guardiola is fortunate to have one of the strongest squads in Europe, with depth in all areas of the pitch.
Liverpool and Arsenal Expected to Put Up Strong Challenge
Guardiola will be expecting strong challenges from both Liverpool and Arsenal this season in the premier sports league, which is why he will be reminding his players of the level required in every game this year. Liverpool have started the campaign well themselves, with four wins and a draw from their opening five games.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been involved in some great title challenges with City over the last few years. The Merseyside club finished second behind their rivals with 97 points in 2019, while a year later, they went one place better to lift the trophy.
Liverpool have had a transformation of their squad during the summer, with some aging members of their team moving on. They were able to retain the services of Mo Salah, despite interest from Saudi Arabia, which is vital for their title challenge.
Last season’s Premier League runners-up Arsenal are thought to be even stronger for their latest challenge. As Guardiola’s assistant between 2016 and 2019, Arteta knows better than anybody the standard his side will need to reach to get the better of Manchester City in the Premier League campaign this season.
Guardiola signed a contract extension with Manchester City last November which will keep him at the club until 2025. Fans of the Premier League champions will be hoping he continues to bring them success in that period and that he remains in Manchester much longer than his current contract.