Fan view: 'Only complacency can stop Manchester City'

13th Aug 2018

The Champions kicked off their title defence by handing Unai Emery’s new era in charge of Arsenal a first defeat.

In similar fashion to last season’s meetings between the two sides, Pep Guardiola’s City side looked to be a class above for the duration of proceedings, with a goal in each half setting the Blues on the way to the first three points of their campaign.

No sign of Sane

Riyad Mahrez made his competitive debut in a City shirt at the Emirates, looking accomplished and showing no sign of nerves following his club-record transfer to the club from Leicester.

His afternoon was made easier having been squared off against Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles in an unfamiliar left-back role - and the Algerian gave the young Gunner a torrid time in the first-half as he also went close to notching his first goal for the club.

Perhaps the biggest talking point regarding the Blues’ widemen though, was the omission of Leroy Sane in the starting XI.

Having endured a surprisingly free summer following Joachim Low’s decision not to take the winger to Russia, Sane ought to have been one of the first name’s on the team sheet - considering a number of the City squad only returned to training in the past seven days.

He cut a forlorn figure when introduced from the bench late on and questions may be asked as to if there has been a breakdown behind the scenes, especially considering his half-time substitution in last weekend’s Community Shield.

City’s no.19 was rightfully crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year following an emphatic campaign last time around and Blues’ fans will be hoping that his non-inclusion from Germany’s World Cup squad won’t cast a shadow over his capabilities this coming season.

Complacen-City

Having captured the league title in record fashion last season, all onlookers are wondering whether Pep’s squad can go one better than City sides of recent times and claim back-to-back titles.

Though early doors, based on the showing of the first two of this season’s outings, it looks as if only complacency on their own part will stand in the way of them becoming the first side to defend the Premier League title since their Manchester rivals in ’08-09.

Most of the chasing pack experienced significant summer upheaval in comparison to Man City’s relatively quiet off-season and unsurprisingly so, with the Blues proving to be streets ahead of any other side across the course of the previous campaign - racing away to a 19-point winning margin and being the first side to pick up 100 points in the process.

Liverpool look the most capable of upsetting the odds and Jurgen Klopp’s men will be buoyed by their opening weekend demolition of ex-Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham.

City’s conquerers in last season’s Champions League have reinforced well with the arrivals of Naby Keita, Allison et al. and will be hoping that they can build on a promising end to last season by mounting a real title charge this time around.

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