While last season ended badly for City, with a tame surrender of their Premier League title, a shock defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup final and the messy dismissal of Roberto Mancini, the summer break has seen them slip down the headlines. That's even with the arrival of new boss Manuel Pellegrini, and the signings of Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, but the focus on Mourinho, Moyes, Rooney and Bale will suit the Blues.
For all his pedigree and experience gained in Spain, Manuel Pellegrini is something of a step into the unknown for City - but Roberto Mancini had never managed in England, and delivered success to City after many lean years. Given the fate of City's two managers since the ADUG takeover in 2008, Pellegrini knows he has to hit his targets, with five trophies in as many years the goal. But with rivals United and Chelsea under new management, the Chilean has a real opportunity to make his mark quickly.
Ins and Outs
- lvaro Negredo - £20.6m
- Steven Jovetic - £22m
- Jesus Navas - £15m
- Fernandinho - £30m
- Carlos Tevez - £12m
- Kolo Toure - Free
- Wayne Bridge - Free
The Bosnian striker looked reinvigorated in pre-season and may be more of the main man than last season. His goals-to-games ratio is not to be sniffed at but he'll need to perform when City play their main rivals.
Under Mancini, City looked narrow at times but the capture of the Spain international from Sevilla should solve that problem, and he'll be expected to provide a service in to Dzeko and Negredo.
The Belgian was not quite at his commanding best and had injury problems as City let their title slip away. City's skipper needs to hit the heights again if last season's memories are to be expunged.
Strengths & Weaknesses
City's hierarchy have a stated preference for 4-3-3, but Pellegrini's squad has the depth and breadth to play in a few different styles. A more attacking approach than under Mancini appears to be on the cards, but City will have to dig deep and battle it out, especially on the road. They will need a plan B when times get tough, and how players out of the team react when called upon will be fascinating, but Pellegrini has a reputation as a skilled man-manager. How much Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair, on the fringes last term through injury and managerial whim respectively, feature will be an interesting sub-plot.
City have continued to splash the cash, but although Navas, Fernandinho, Negredo and Jovetic are not high-profile names, despite their price tags, they have bolstered City's attacking options. However, although the Blues' midfield is overflowing and could be pruned, Pellegrini may be reluctant to let anyone go with domestic and European football on the agenda. Injury to Matija Nastasic, ruled out of the early part of the season, means some defensive cover could be on the cards even with Joleon Lescott ready to reclaim a regular place. Like Lescott, Gareth Barry is entering the final years of his current contract but his days could be numbered and the England international may be moved out and off the wage bill.
"We don't have a priority for one competition, I know we have to improve what Manchester City have done in the past two years in the Champions League, but we will try to do our best in all competitions. I will try to win another Premier League. When City won the Premier League I think it was one of the most important things for the club, we will try to repeat that."
"It's not enough to just spend the money, I think a lot of clubs do that. It will take something special, but we will just do as much as we can now in the preparations. Buying new players is one thing, but the way we have prepared has been really good so far."
Facts and Figures
City made a higher percentage of short passes than any other team
Joe Hart made five errors leading directly to a goal in 2012-13, four more than he did in 2011-12
Only RVP (27) and Bale (24) won more points with their goals than Dzeko (15)
City were the only team to score in every home game in 2012-13
David Silva created a chance more frequently than any other regular player (every 24 minutes).
They've got to be expecting to win the league. With the money they've spent, the players they've brought in, the players they already had and the fact they underachieved last season they should be thinking about nothing else other than winning the league and getting back to the standard they were at a year-and-a-half ago. Manuel Pellegrini's target from the owners will be to win the Premier League back and do better in the Champions League. So their targets are simple: get through the Champions League group phase and win the Premier League.