Where will your side finish in 2012-13? With the season just one week away, our pundits have put our heads together to give you a comprehensive set of predictions.
Opinions and analysis on all 20 Premier League clubs are given here by 12 of our writers and pundits here at HITC Sport. On the basis of the predictions from our 'daring dozen' we have calculated how the table will look come next May.
How does it work? All the predictions are totalled together, the team with the lowest score will finish 1st, and the highest will finish 20th. Here are the predictions for your club.
Verdict - Manchester City will finish in: 1st
Highest prediction: 1st , Lowest prediction: 3rd.
Dan Coombs: 1st; City will do what Arsenal have never done, and successfully defend the Premier League title. Don't expect it to come down to goal difference either, they will win by a far more comfortable margin this time around. Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have the potential to destroy defences with their partnership, while their defence will be as mean as ever again. Their rivals are yet to come up with a solution to Yaya Toure in the centre, and this should be an enjoyable season for City fans, who found self-doubt their biggest opponent last season - That won't be an issue this time around.
Vic Daniels: 1st; No title for 44 years, and then two come along in quick succession. And the difference again this year is the manager.
Mathew Nash: 2nd; Star Player – Vincent Kompany. Top Scorer – Sergio Aguero. They will just lose out because United will be better; City will have a superb season of course but United will just have the will to pip them this season. Sergio Aguero will top their scoring charts whilst Vincent Kompany will be the star performer this season. A big challenge will keeping the ego’s of Balotelli, Tevez and co in check for the duration of the season.
Tomo Taka: 2nd; If firstly winning the title is deemed difficult, defending it takes on a different challenge and as yet, with no improvements to the squad, City have done little in the face of their rivals’ spending to suggest they will be the ones to beat. Nonetheless, City have an extensive squad able to productively cover at any position and the talent available to Roberto Mancini will be sufficient to challenge United and Chelsea for the Premier League. Best player will be Agüero. Sergio Agüero was sensational in his first year in the Premier League scoring 23 goals including the last minute title-winner against QPR. The 24-year-old striker will lead the line again and should improve further in his second season in the league. Biggest challenge will be how they defend their title. Defending a championship is known to present a different challenge than first winning it with the league’s other teams all driven to defeat the ‘league champions’. The important point is to improve the squad and City have yet to do so due to their difficulty in offloading wage burdens such as Adebayor and Santa Cruz. City will also have to be careful in balancing the Champions League with their league campaign. Manchester City demonstrated their Champions League inexperience last season by being knocked out in the group stages and they will be seeking an improvement this year but how will they deal with fixture congestion should they reach the latter stages of the competition.
Jake Lane: 2nd; They will be strong again but only AS strong as last season and not stronger. Yet to sign anyone- they need to bare in mind Sir Alex at United would always invest in his side after winning the league and Mancini and City need to follow suit or face falling just short this time around. It’s one thing trying to become the best but trying to stay the best is totally another.
Nigel Owen: 1st; It's often said that defending your title is more difficult than winning it, but I think getting the monkey off their back will release some pressure at Eastlands, and they look set for a new dynasty in the North West. Surprising for many, they are yet to spend a penny this summer, but having Carlos Tevez for a whole season will be worth at least an extra handful of goals and points. With arguably the best goalkeeper, centre half and midfielder in the league in their ranks, they still scored 93 goals without an out and out goalscorer. While I would have Balotelli in my starting XI, he will never be 100% reliable, whereas Carlos Tevez is the man you would want to rely on. He will be the difference between a closely fought title race and one that is much more comfortable than last season.
Surya Solanki: 1st; The champions, even though have not made any summer signings yet, look like a structured and organized unit, transforming into one of the most daunting teams in Europe. The nervy title win last season has would inject much needed experience to the squad and it would be disappointing to expect anything less than a first place finish in the 2012-13 season.
Paul Moore: 3rd; Winning the title was the easy bit; retaining it is another! Mancini signing a five year contract can only be good news for the club. Kompany will be a star yet again as will Hart, but the pressure on the forwards will cost points.
John Aggrey: 1st; They will win the league because, there players have blended in together and gotten used to playing with each other over time. Good to see Mancini has been able to keep the spirit in the camp together and the discipline seems to be up to shape now compared to the earlier stages of last season. Their star man should be Sergio Aguero. Always popped up with important goals, has kept away from injury and so far consistent in his game as well as a team player. Biggest challenge will be, beating cross town rivals Manchester United and trying to maintain their title.
Naveenan Thanendra: 2nd; The greatest of teams always say that winning the first title is the easy part; it is defending that title which proves to be the real challenge. This is a realisation that City will find all too evident next term. While they have a settled squad (which is possibly the strongest in the league) and management team for the first time in years, they will be wearing a huge target on their back as the rest of their rivals have strengthened in an effort to dethrone them. One major advantage they hold though is that they need not worry about losing key man, Yaya Toure, to the African Nations Cup next season. His driving force single handedly has won them many a game during his time at the club and he will be looking to continue doing so next season.
Keval Shah: 1st; Having deservedly accomplished top honours last season, City will not be giving up this title without a fight. There hasn’t been much activity in the transfer window for the club, however with two players battling it out for every position who do they really need? Having said that, Kolo Toure and Savic do not provide sufficient enough cover if one of the first choice pairing were to suffer an injury. If Tevez can reach the potential we know he is capable of, a potential born-again pairing of himself and Aguero is enough to break any defence. Vincent Kompany was the player of the season last year and if he can demonstrate that sort of form once more, Manchester will once again be blue at the end of season.
Khiam Barry: 2nd; City’s strength of depth and quality in every position means they’ll be in the mix for title contention; however, Champions League winning ambitions may be the priority now that they’ve finally won a Premier League title.
Connor Jipps: 2nd; Roberto Mancini’s side finally realised their potential last season and got their hands on the Premier League trophy for the first time in 44 years. A squad full to the brim with talented players, Man City have remained suspiciously quiet this summer with little arrivals but more importantly few departures from the title-winning side. Often achieving the highest domestic success can lead players to want to move elsewhere to maintain the sense of challenge, but City have managed to keep the core of their squad content. Of course squad outcasts such as Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz are likely to move on but the main stars can see the potential of the club and want to stay which is a big boost for City. Just like last season Mancini will have to keep a control of the various extravagant personalities, with Balotelli, Tevez and Nasri all potential ticking time bombs waiting to go off, but the Italian has handled these egos well in the past and I’m sure he will continue to do so over the next 9 months. With the experience of last years Champions League, it is likely the sky blues will be able to advance further into the competition if they compete to their potential and will of course be challenging for the Premier League. Ultimately it’s likely to be between City and arch-rivals United for the spot, and I think City will just fall short this time around with the distraction of the Champions League latter stages hanging over them.
Full predicted table: (1) Manchester City, (2) Manchester United, (3) Chelsea, (4) Arsenal, (5) Tottenham, (6) Liverpool, (7) Newcastle, (8) Everton, (9) Fulham, (10) Sunderland, (11) Aston Villa, (12) Stoke, (13) QPR, (14) Swansea, (15) West Ham, (16) West Brom, (17) Norwich, (18) Reading, (19) Wigan, (20) Southampton.
Where do you believe Manchester City will finish next season?
image: © Gene Hunt