Last season: 3rd
FA Cup: Winners
Carling Cup: Third round
Europa League: Quarter-finals
Opening three fixtures: Swansea (h), Bolton (a), Tottenham (a)
Transfers in: Costel Pantilimon (Politehnica Timisoara, undisclosed), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, £38m), Stefan Savic (FK Partizan, undisclosed), Gael Clichy (Arsenal, undisclosed)
Transfers out: Ryan McGivern (Crystal Palace, loan), Abdisalam Ibrahim (NEC, loan), Michael Johnson (Leicester City, loan), Kieran Trippier (Burnley, loan), Jo (Internacional, undisclosed), Shay Given (Aston Villa, undisclosed), Patrick Vieira (retired), Ben Mee (Burnley, loan), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich, £11.8m), Donal McDermott (Huddersfield Town, undisclosed), David Gonzalez (Aberdeen, loan), Scott Kay (Macclesfield Town, free), Andrew Tutte (Rochdale, free), Javan Vidal (released), Felipe Caicedo (£880,000, Levante), Shaleum Logan (Brentford, free), James Poole (Hartlepool United, free)
Title odds: 33/10
Chances: Third-favourites in bwin’s title betting market – and only just behind 3/1 second-favourites Chelsea – Manchester City are very much in the hunt for their first ever Premier League crown. With neighbours Manchester United 6/5 to finish first for the second year in a row, the Citizens could offer the best chance for bwin customers to secure significant winnings from their title bet, with a successful £25 free bet set to return £107.50 rather than the £55 available for a similar punt on the Red Devils.
Winner without Manchester United and Chelsea: 3/4
Chances: The sale of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona has put a significant dent in the ambitions of Arsenal, Tottenham have spent all summer trying to keep hold of Luka Modric rather than adding to their squad and Liverpool’s team might take time to bed in given the number of new arrivals. As such, City are easily the best bets to win a Premier League without United and Chelsea – particularly as they may end up finishing above one or both of the clubs removed from consideration.
Finishing in top four odds: 4/25
Chances: Odds of 4/25 are representative of the view that, having cracked the top four, Man City are unlikely to relinquish their place any time soon. Indeed, Man United, Chelsea and City are all odds-on to secure a place in the 2012-13 Champions League, suggesting Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool will be fighting for fourth.
Odds for relegation: 1,000/1
Chances: No chance. Even if they looked like being dragged into a relegation dogfight, the availability of almost unlimited funds in the January transfer window would enable the new manager – for Mancini would surely be long gone – to buy the club’s way out of trouble.
Key man: Sergio Aguero
Overview: Last year’s third-place finish and success in the FA Cup were the biggest signs yet that Sheikh Mansour is getting a return on the millions of pounds he has invested since arriving at Eastlands. Worryingly for their rivals, further spending over the summer means City should be stronger this season than last, although they have been left damaged by a protracted transfer wrangle involving Carlos Tevez. The Citizens’ Argentine captain scored 20 league goals in the last campaign, making him the club’s top-scorer. While he remains a City player, Tevez has expressed his desire to leave and could yet make his exit before the close of the summer transfer window.
Verdict: In Sergio Aguero, City have already brought in a replacement for Tevez and should Diego Maradona’s son-in-law prove an adequate substitute for his fellow Argentine, the Citizens are assured of a place in the top four at the very least. And given Chelsea’s hitherto inability to add a much-needed creative midfielder to their squad, City could yet find themselves in a two-way battle for the title with Manchester United. However, United’s impressive display in last week’s Community Shield suggests there is still ground to make up on the reigning champions, meaning a bet on City to win a league minus their Manchester rivals and Chelsea looks a better option that a punt on the Citizens in the outright winner market.
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