Premier League 2017-18 fans’ previews, part 2: Manchester City to West Ham


Manchester City

This should be our year. Given the money Pep has spent and the overwhelming quality in our squad, anything other than a proper title challenge will be a failure. I’m optimistic, though: our summer transfer business has been excellent.

Key players The key signings are the full-backs: Walker, Danilo and Mendy. I know it’s only pre-season but they’ve already had a transformative effect on the way we play in terms of pressing, attacking play and defensive solidity. Ederson will be crucial too. In terms of a key player, I expect this will be the season De Bruyne announces himself as the best player in the league. The guy is a genius. Also keep an eye out for Phil Foden, a Stockport-born No10.

Weak links Central midfield is our problem. A lot will depend on Gündogan’s return, which is a massive risk given his injury record and the age of his replacements in Fernandinho (32) and Touré (34). But we can’t address every area of the squad in one window. Vincent Kompany’s fitness will be pivotal too.

Headline generator If his social media is anything to go by, Benjamin Mendy. Looks set for cult-hero status.

Favourite moment in 25 years of the Premier League Agüero’s goal – an unbeatable feeling. But I also can’t not mention Mario Balotelli: the man who agreed to be the face of Manchester’s fire safety campaign having set fire to his house with those fireworks just a few days before.

Predictions – we will finish: 1st. Top four: 1. Manchester City; 2. Liverpool; 3. Chelsea; 4. Manchester United. The bottom three: 18. Huddersfield; 19. Burnley; 20. Brighton; First manager sacked: Mark Hughes (Stoke). Who will be promoted? Middlesbrough, Fulham and Aston Villa.

Lloyd Scragg,, @lloyd_scragg

Manchester United

We’ll definitely challenge – we may fall short but José knows this is a steady restoration job, not a quick fix. He has signed established top-flight experience in Matic and Lukaku, and they’ll help with the key challenge of breaking down sides that come to Old Trafford and park the bus. He’ll get it right but I’m afraid it won’t be with the swagger and panache of Ferguson’s teams.

Key players Matic will be pivotal: we lacked a natural defensive midfielder last season, and he should give us balance. And Axel Tuanzebe is one to watch: a strong, powerful, teenage defender.

Weak links We still haven’t solved the left-back position. Luke Shaw made only 11 league appearances last season and was criticised by both LVG and Mourinho for his attitude and lack of effort. He either needs to be shipped out or step up to the mark.

Headline generator Mourinho, of course. We can expect the war of words with Conte, Pep, Wenger and Klopp to be louder than ever due to the vast sums spent, with managers under more scrutiny than ever.

Favourite moment in 25 years of the Premier League Came in 2003 when we clawed back an eight-point gap to Arsenal, then went to Highbury in April level on points and drew 2-2. Fergie went on to the pitch to the United end with fists pumping, like he knew he had won the league that night.

Predictions – we will finish: 2nd. Top four: 1. Chelsea; 2. Manchester United; 3. Tottenham; 4. Manchester City. The bottom three: 18. Burnley; 19. Huddersfield; 20. Brighton. First manager sacked: Craig Shakespeare (Leicester). Who will be promoted? Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Wolves.

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