Widely expected to rack up a third consecutive Premier League title last season, Manchester City suffered an unusually disappointing campaign.
As Pep Guardiola heads into his fifth season in Manchester, he must now try and find a way to bridge the gap to champions Liverpool.
How did they perform in 2019-20?
Despite occasional flashes of their true potential, City were subpar.
Thanks to a combination of Liverpool’s brilliance and their own inconsistencies, they found themselves playing for second place by the turn of the year and eventually finished a humbling 18 points behind the Reds.
Guardiola’s side tasted defeat nine times, highlighting a defensive hole left by the departure of former captain Vincent Kompany.
For all the class of Kevin De Bruyne (pictured above) and Raheem Sterling, who provided 33 goals and 24 assists between them in the league, it was at the other end of the pitch where City came up short.
Who are the new faces?
Guardiola swooped early to land both Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres.
Ake is a familiar face to Premier League fans having already racked up 146 appearances in England’s top tier.
The defensive versatility and comfort in possession that he displayed at Bournemouth should prove a huge asset.
Torres is an enigmatic winger and was described as ‘unpredictable’ and ‘explosive’ during his breakthrough season at Valencia last term.
The potential move for the mercurial Lionel Messi did not come to fruition in the end, but who knows what the future holds?
What is the manager saying?
“We cannot forget that we won two trophies [the Carabao Cup and Community Shield].
“So we have to take a little perspective, be humble, and say ‘Not all the time we can win’.
“And then we must learn what we need to do to avoid this situation again.”
What do the fans expect?
While Guardiola will always be held in high regard for his successes at the Etihad — eight trophies and counting — last season was a frustrating one for all concerned.
In terms of performances, supporters will want to see long-term issues with City’s backline addressed as a top priority.
They will also expect their team to go very close in the title race.
When is their first game?
Both Manchester clubs have been granted an additional week off due to their European exploits, so City’s Premier League campaign will start at Wolves on Monday, September 21.
The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports with an 8.15pm kick-off and promises to be an intriguing affair given that Wolves did the double over City last season.