Manchester City are desperate to regain the Premier League trophy and with former Real Madrid and Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini at the helm, they are taken to overcome fellow co-favourites Manchester United and Chelsea and take the title back to Eastlands in May at odds of 11/5.
The qualified civil engineer possesses a wealth of football knowledge, having taken his first steps into management in 1987 in Chile and has an excellent record in the dugout since moving to Europe nine years ago, with two top-three finishes during his five-year spell at lowly Villarreal, including breaking the La Liga duopoly with a runners-up spot in 2007-2008.
The following season at Real Madrid, Pellegrini amassed a then club record 96 points, but was shown the Bernabeu’s revolving door to make way for Jose Mourinho after one campaign, as Barcelona took the title by just three points.
Newly-monied Malaga came calling after Pellegrini’s Madrid sacking and the Chilean again worked the oracle, leading Los Boquerones into the Champions League for the first time in their history in 2011/2012 and coming agonising close to a place in the semi-finals last season, before two cruel late goals by Borussia Dortmund.
At City, Pellegrini has arguably the best squad in the Premier League and can expect another signing or two before the transfer window closes, with Cagliari centre-half Davide Astori the latest player linked with the Citizens following Matija Nastasic’s pre-season injury.
Serbian stopper Nastasic formed a formidable partnership with captain Vincent Kompany in his debut season, as City conceded the least amount of goals of any team in the Premier League and with Joleon Lescott the only other centre-back in the squad, sourcing cover in defence will be Pellegrini’s top priority.
With former Sevilla pair Jesus Navas and 25-goal Alvaro Negredo joining Spanish internationals David Silva and Javi Garcia at the club, Pellegrini should settle in quickly at City and with Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetic also arriving over the summer, the Eastlands club now have the firepower to compete with neighbours United, whose 86 league goals last season dwarfed second-placed City’s 66.
Pellegrini will also relish the chance of getting one over on Mourinho, whose beloved Chelsea have not spent money as readily as in the past and could be a couple of players short this year.