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Gossip: 'Who can stop City?' ask pundits

Pep's men have impressed the pundits this summer

Pep's men have impressed the pundits this summer

Premier League previews and pundit predictions are awash in the media this morning ahead of the big kick-off.

The overall view is that this will be one of the most exciting campaigns yet, but it is the Blues many are tipping to top the pile next May.

Typical of many opinions is a man who has been there and done it – former Leeds United star John Giles who has a well-balanced, interesting column in The Irish Independent.

Writes Giles: “No such drama with the blue side of Manchester. Guardiola has been foot perfect all summer and made big additions to his squad early and often.

“There has been no fuss, no negative talk from him about his club missing transfer targets and I even saw Yaya Toure give a very convincing interview about the season ahead and his commitment to making it a great one for City.

Yaya ready for the season...

“Just a year ago, the only question about Toure was how long it would take for Guardiola to move him on but there has clearly been a meeting of minds and that shows that Guardiola’s influence and control is working well.

“So the signs are good for City and Guardiola, not least because of the business he has done. I reckoned he would need two windows to put his stamp on the team and the arrival of Danilo, Ederson Moraes, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker will help him do that.”

Giles goes on to tip City to win the Premier League this season – let’s hope he’s spot on.

Elsewhere the hugely likeable Brighton boss Chris Hughton admits facing City will be a baptism of fire for the Premier League new boys.

The Seagulls will undoubtedly become the neutrals’ favourite ‘other side’ in the coming months – possibly with Huddersfield – and Hughton says Saturday’s opening clash couldn’t be much harder for his team.

Quoted on Brighton’s official site, he said: ‘They’ve [Man City] been outstanding in pre-season, and if we’re looking at a team gelling and showing the quality that they have, they have definitely shown that already.

‘What you hope is that when you get to that first game, you’ve got the right levels and you can look back on pre-season and know you’ve got it right.

‘For us, we’re up against top-class opposition that will have more possession than what we do. It’s going to be a very tough opening game, but we have to play them at some stage.

CITY SLICKERS: Blues have the talent says Seagulls boss

‘It’s a wonderful game for the club and supporters, as a first game in the Premier League, but we have to make sure it’s a good day for the team as well.’

Moving on, the ever-readable Simon Curtis – writing on ESPN - has turned the clock back to the early 1980s as he recalls a clash that might otherwise have been long forgotten…

“In a strange quirk of fate, 34 years ago, in the 1982-83 season, Brighton's last top-flight home game was also against City, where they were also looking for a positive result but for very different reasons.

“Brighton were coming to the end of a four-year stint with the big boys, their only period in the top flight. With both sides in the relegation area and Brighton preparing for a first-ever FA Cup final against Manchester United, they had plenty on their respective plates.

“City too were beset with problems in those dark days. Having hit second place after a November win over Southampton, the club had got itself into a deep rut of appalling form that had carried them to the very edge of the relegation zone. The penultimate game of the season was at the Goldstone Ground, Brighton's ramshackle stadium until 1997.

“A late winner by Kevin Reeves relegated Brighton that afternoon, setting them up for a dreary double when they eventually lost the Cup final to United in a replay. City went on to live another day, facing Luton Town in a last-day battle for survival. In tumultuous circumstances, Luton pulled off the great escape with an infamous 84th minute winner from Radomir Antic, thus relegating City alongside Brighton.”

Lastly today, Sky Sports have run a feature on 10 new faces who could light up the Premier League this season and there’s no surprise to find the Blues well represented.

Here’s what they have to say about one of our new boys…

“It's not only a surname that Bernardo Silva shares with Manchester City's established playmaker, David. The Portugal international is also the kind of versatile, fleet-footed player Pep Guardiola has made his name creating teams around.

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“The 22-year-old, a graduate of Benfica's academy, was a pivotal part of Monaco's swashbuckling Ligue 1-winning side last year, contributing eight goals and nine assists, and should provide an additional cutting edge to a squad that, Sergio Aguero aside, under-delivered in terms of goal scoring last season.

‘Close to the box he has the quality to score a lot of goals and he's a fighter too so he's going to help us during the season,. said Guardiola of a player who is poised to increase City's creative options.”

And that’s that – not one transfer rumour in this column – surely a first? Tomorrow, however, is another day…


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