The current Premier League season may not be over just yet, but the eyes of many football fans are already looking ahead to next season’s tussle at the top of the table. Manchester City have been priced up as early favourites but do they deserve to be in pole position?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) 9 May 2017
It hasn’t gone according to plan for Pep during his first season in the North West of England. The former Barcelona boss has seen his side drop out of contention for the title, knocked out of the FA Cup and fall victim to the swashbuckling Monaco in the UEFA Champions League.
Despite a disappointing campaign, they are expected to bounce back with odds of 5/2 quoted by Paddy Power in the Premier League odds for the 2017-18 season.
Overhauling Antonio Conte‘s impressive Chelsea side may be their toughest task however. Paddy Power have Chelsea priced up at 10/3 to claim top spot next season, despite the possibility that Conte’s men could wrap up this season’s Premier League title with the second highest ever points total.
It could be a summer of upheaval at the Etihad, with several players expected to arrive ahead of next season. The Catalan boss may have around £200m to spend as he aims to bring silverware to the blue half of Manchester.
One area which requires strengthening is defence. Captain Vincent Kompany has managed just eight Premier League appearances this campaign and although assured and classy when present they cannot gamble on his patchy injury record for yet another season.
A defensive masterclass from Vincent Kompany and Nico Otamendi 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/jx1xeqGs1N
— City Watch (@City_Watch) 6 May 2017
Manchester City have conceded 37 goals so far this season, which is fewer than Arsenal and Liverpool but eight more than Chelsea and a whopping 14 more than Spurs. Paddy Power make the North London side a generous 17/2 for the title next year.
If Pep’s side are to justify their odds next season they must rise to the big occasions; they picked up just two points from a possible 18 against fellow top four sides this year. Chelsea did the double, Spurs won at White Hart Lane and only a Sergio Aguero goal prevented Liverpool from completing a memorable double over them.
The Merseysiders have been fairly inconsistent under Jurgen Klopp this season tripping up consistently against lower ranked sides but they could still finish above Pep’s charges. The Reds are 15/2 for top honours next season.
Jose Mourinho is also likely to strengthen during the summer and the red half of Manchester may play a part in dampening City’s title hopes. The Red Devils are second favourites at 3/1 with Paddy Power and will fancy their chances under the former Chelsea tactician.
Guardiola must spend wisely this summer. The addition of Gabriel Jesus is an astute one but several young, hungry and most importantly talented players must follow if the club are to progress. Pep may still have his reputation intact but another empty season at the Etihad will see patience start to wear thin. Their title price may shorten this summer, however, if their business is eye-catching, exciting and swift. Watch this space…