Our Stiffest, Hardest Competition - Bring It On
Vital Manchester City front page contributor, Bundo sent us the following.
Ahh, we tend to forget about these people - the opposition. The top four ladies and gentlemen is a thing of the past as it seems this season - we are all going for it.
Chelsea, United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton, Villa and City are all the obvious early contenders for the Champions League spots and all 'theoretically' could win the whole thing.
Not many teams have changed dramatically this season via transfers with City being the only ones making massive changes...so let's take a look at our main competition.
Chelsea are the champions and although the team are an old team...they still have the talent there that can spur them on this season to do it once more with the likes of Malouda, Cole, Drogba, Anelka, JT and Lampard showing the way.
The manager knows his stuff and seems to have the dressing room all sorted and the style of play looking sweet. My goal of the season for last season was scored by Drogba after Lampard and Deco had a bit of skill to set him up - you all know the one - stylish as Gok Wan (can't believe I just mentioned him in a football article).
Theoretically, Liverpool and Chelsea have swapped around Yossi Benayoun and Joe Cole and I think that Chelsea will benefit more from this.
Yossi is a great player that scores often and gets play moving well. Don't get me wrong - so does Joe - but I think Yossi will do better for Chelsea then Joe for Liverpool...but we shall soon see.
The team are full of superstars and I'm going for them being Champions again, but as I've said, it's anybody's and Malouda, Yossi and Drogba will be key to their success.
Arsenal for the last few years haven't won a cup to urinate in but have been round and about up there with the big boys. Surely this is their year!
I'm a big fan of Arsenal because I like the way they play, the players they have … and their kits always look smart! It's all very tidy and they are involved in some top games that stand out in my mind; the 4-4 with Liverpool being one and they always entertains in Europe...even if they do get knocked out eventually at recent.
Arsene Wenger is very good at finding young talent and keeping hold to make them something special; don't ask me how he does it - he just does it - he is a top manager and that am what they are based around.
This year the youngsters they have like Walcott, Gibbs, Traore, Djourou, Mannone, Song, Denilson, Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela, Walcott and new boy Chamakh are another year older and I think they are ready for it.
With Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas staying too - this will be a good season and for me they will definitely win something, but not the league. 2nd is my prediction.
United are obviously up there with the favourites again with a winning mentality and a good team. I don't want to go on about United, so I won't.
For me they will lose out on the trophy this year as their team needed improving more - but the transfer window isn't over yet. Rooney and Berbatov will both need good seasons for them to challenge for the title this season. 3rd place is my prediction.
Tottenham will be up and around it. Everton got in the top four and then...did nothing with it. Villa came close and... did nothing with it, but I think Redknapp has more about him and will keep them up and around it all.
They have a good team with some great young players that will do them well and it is clear the team spirit is there.
One I'd keep my eye on throughout the season is Gareth Bale as there is almost no doubt in my mind that he will have a fantastic season with his pace, shot and overall amazing ability - after he got past his stat of not playing in a Tottenham win - he went from strength to strength and this boy is something special.
Also, Dawson, Lennon and Defoe will be looking to get in the England set up with the current changes and can see them doing well. 5th is my prediction but I definitely think it will all be very close and who's to say they won't have a decent Champions League run?
Liverpool fell last season. And it's safe to say...flat on their face - in fact, flat up to their necks in ****.
After a title chasing season they just managed a Europa League spot the season proceeding. Torres and Gerrard manage to always do the business for them and the most important bit of business for Roy Hodgson to do there was to keep them because without them they are generally a mid-table team.
They were unlucky with injuries last season to be fair to them but it proved how much they count on these two...but if you took Rooney and Nani away from United how good would they be? Fabregas and Van Persie? Bellamy and Tevez?
If I looked at the squad I'd think it would be another struggle for them and they will aim for a Europa Cup spot as Torres and Gerrard may be top class but apart from that...what do they have? Joe Cole, Kuyt, and a top keeper would be the answer as the rest are mediocre players with Macherano looking gone.
But...then I look at Roy and with what he did at Fulham with a mediocre squad and think 'hell yeah'. Why not? They could be up there or they could fall flat on their face. Flip your coins folks. 6th for me.
Everton are always a tough one for me as I try to dislike them as much as I can...but I can't.
Pienaar, Fellaini, Jagielka, Cahill, Rodwell, Arteta, Saha, Yakubu - they are all great players and can do a great job.
In good typical Everton fashion...one...or two...or all will get injured and give them a harder than wanted season, but if all fit - they could get back into the top four easily.
They have the players, they have the fans, and they have the girly kit. Why not?
Well, because the other teams are better I think. Sorry if I gave you the impression that was rhetorical but I just think they won't be able to overcome the other teams as they aren't quite strong enough. They will count on Arteta and Yak a lot this season but they could always pull off a good signing before then? 7th for me.
Villa had a decent season last season and looks top with O'Neill at the helm (oops, he was at the helm). The wonders of breaking news!
Well, this changes everything. Milner will most probably leave so Agbonlohor and Young will have to step up...and I have no doubt that they will.
It will be more difficult for them with the manager leaving so close to the season and it will probably take a while for them to settle but they are a decent side and should be up there with the big boys. We shall soon see but 8th for me this season.
And then there is us...Manchester City.
No question we have the better squad of them all in my opinion, so much depth and versatility. Nothing says we can't win it all.
I'm happy with 4th and that's where I'm putting my money here but don't be deluded - we could get this!
It will be so close this season as all the teams have strengths and can go for it as 'outsiders' will go for the title. Even Fulham could get up some speed, Birmingham, even Newcastle may find a bit of form!
West Bromwi...well - maybe not anybody could get up there this season - but the possibilities are endless. And that's what we love - the possibilities.
Main Man - Carlos Tevez. Why of course!
He leads us from the front last season and worked his socks off. He is a striker but found himself anywhere on the pitch with his great fitness, and willing to track back as well as score magnificent goals. The boy is world class to say the least and will be raring to go once more this season.
Young one to watch - The Academy has done magnificent throughout the seasons as they have brought us top class players who are internationals now and with Mancini pledging to use it once more we will see a lot of youngsters coming through this season.
Whether it's Guidetti, Kay, Ibrahim or any others. Johnson will get on the England scene and impress this season by the looks of his pre-season however we have many this season.
Boyata was brought into the squad by Mancini last season and no doubt will be called on again - Cunningham is becoming regularly involved and with Kolarov and Bridge the only two he's fighting against he may get in and of course if he comes - the 19-year-old Ballotelli will be one to watch. Many youngsters on the scene.
Reincarnated - Jo! As Grandpops says 'boy done well' this pre-season! Some decent goals and seems to be a bit of a predator. What's to say he can't come back and do well for us? He is only young remember. I am one for second chances!
Europa - A season is never just about the Premier League as the other competitions keep us going! The knock out stages is what we live for as they get your heart going! This is either your win to destiny or you're dumped out!
We have made it into Europe in merit and I have no doubt that we will do well. The rules state we can use anybody outside of the 25-man squad too so happy days for a big squad. We are definitely one of - if not thee - favourites this year and after our last stint in the cup - I'm sure we are all looking forward to it!
The late Thursday night Uefa cup games were a gem for us in 08/09 and its back with the foreign teams, foreign fans and even better - foreign traditions!
Some of the things they do around the world to do with football is amazing and I can't wait to experience it once again and...get a trophy.
Great chance and with Silva, Tevez, Adebayor, Yaya, Kolo and many others all having experience in Uefa and Champions League...this could be our year.
Carling & FA Cup
Wouldn't be surprised to see some youngsters come out here and do well. I'd like to think that these will be taken seriously and not a hindrance to the league or Europa Cup and we may win one or the other.
We are in a great position to get a trophy this year and why not be one of these and an outing to Wembley...as well as Dublin...a man can dream! Many have put us for favourites for the Carling Cup.
We have the new City Street, the European nights, a massive squad with top class players and this could be our season.
Can you wait?!
The Toon is back!
We have Blackpool in the Premier League! BLACKPOOL! Madness.
We have Ian Holloway in the Premier League - look forward to the interviews.
Explosive players are back!
The derby! Can you wait!? The derby!
Adrian Chiles is thrilled with the Albion back up!
The away days!
Old Chelsea boys.
Sparky's Fulham looking out for a good run!
Stoke looking to stay in the Premier League with their League 2 fashion!
And United...may have to re-asses a certain banner.
I could go on forever!
Bundo, over and out...but not for long.