Premier League predictions: Chelsea will be Manchester City's biggest threat

Samir Nasri & Sergio Aguero with Premier League Trophy

HITC Sport runs the rule over Manchester City's upcoming Premier League title defence.

Reasons to be positive

On the back of winning the Premier League title in 2012, Roberto Mancini expressed his disappointment at Manchester City's summer recruitment drive. A season later, the Italian was out of a job and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini.

Whether City have learned from their mistakes remains to be seen this time around, although the early signs have been positive.

Frank Lampard, Fernando and Willy Caballero have been brought in to bolster Pellegrini's squad, while the majority of Man City's squad have been kept on board ahead of their title defence. Overall, of course, City's side could strike fear into any defence, it is just a matter of using the right players in key moments.

Trouble on the horizon

Man City's main problems this season come from a potentially elevated standard from their opponents. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have all strengthened this summer, while Liverpool have also made seven signings - although they have lost Luis Suarez.

In the Champions League, meanwhile, City will have their work cut out trying to advance as far as possible in the competition, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and more likely to be even stronger this time out.

As good as Manchester City were in the Premier League last term, they will need to be better this year. In Europe, they will have to improve considerably.

Top scorer: Sergio Aguero

There is no question that, if he stays fit, Sergio Aguero will be City's main man in front of goal this term.

However, the picture becomes less clear if the Argentine suffers any serious injury problems. Stevan Jovetic could enjoy his breakthrough season in English football this campaign, while Edin Dzeko has lost none of his clinical tendencies from last season - a disappointing World Cup aside. At the same time, Yaya Toure will no doubt contribute more goals from midfield.

That said, Aguero spent a lot of last season and injured and still finished City's top scorer.

Will the manager last the season? It depends...

On the face of it, Pellegrini's job is secure. The Chilean's debut campaign at the Etihad was a triumph as he lifted both the Premier League and Capital One Cup trophies.

The Manchester City hierarchy will be looking for more from the 60-year-old in Europe, though. Should City suffer a disastrous Champions League season, for instance, Pellegrini's job will be far from safe. A failure to defend the league trophy would also add to the mix.

Verdict: 2nd

Domestically, City should enjoy another strong campaign. But strong enough to stop Jose Mourinho's Chelsea? That is more debatable...

The Portuguese coach tends to win league titles in his second season at clubs - Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan - and the Blues' transfer business this pre-season has given him his clearest shot possible at doing so again.

As such, Man City may struggle to defend their title, though they will be there or thereabouts once again.

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