Manchester City head into a new campaign as many people’s favourites for the Premier League title; and yet following a summer of strengthening at both Arsenal and Chelsea, an impressive transfer spree at Liverpool and the arrival of Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, the Blues will have to go some to retain their title.
Their championship defence kicks off against Newcastle United on Sunday and here we consider the 11 City players who could take to the field for that match.
Willy Caballero had a match to forget for new club City when he shipped three in the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Sunday. As a result, expect Joe Hart to return to the starting line-up for the match against Newcastle.
Bacary Sagna is a doubt for the weekend’s match due to a lack of match fitness. However, he has another week of training behind him after sitting out the game at Wembley and he could well feature for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Another player seeking match fitness, the Belgian skipper would have watched the game against Arsenal and known just how important it was that he is back in that side as soon as possible.
The former FC Porto defender has already revealed that it may be a while before he is performing at his optimum level. However, Pellegrini will be keen to begin the partnership between him and Kompany as soon as possible.
Clichy should play on the left after starting for the Blues against his former club last weekend. He will know the competition for places is such that any dip in form will see him out of the side.
The new midfielder is an excellent addition to City’s squad and he should get his first taste of Premier League football against the Magpies. His presence will allow Yaya Toure to continue his forays into the opposition half, while also allowing Fernandinho to do the same when the Brazilian returns to the side.
All is forgotten, or so it seems, as the Ivorian returns to the club he looked like leaving earlier this summer. He remains vital to the club and it will be interesting to see if he can come close to replicating his form from last season.
David Silva will want to put a disappointing summer behind him and get on with the business of winning again. A new contract and a prolonged rest means he should come back reinvigorated and on top of his game.
Another Spanish international who will want to get back to domestic matters as soon as possible, he will be hoping to kick on after a good debut campaign at the Etihad.
City fans could be about to see the real Stevan Jovetic, after his debut campaign was rocked by injury and an inability to break into the team on a consistent basis. He has already shown during pre-season that he can score just as well as his illustrious teammates.
With Alvaro Negredo injured and Sergio Aguero recovering from a long summer in Brazil, it will be up to Edin Dzeko to act as the talisman up front in the short-term. Competition for places should see the striker continue his impressive scoring-rate.