Sports

Brighton vs Manchester City, Premier League

Brighton vs Manchester City, Premier League

Still, the narrative was clear. We create always more than the opponent.

"It's not like going into the unknown; but it will be a tough, challenging season, and they need to make sure they're up for it".

Summer recruiting? Well, Brighton clearly can not compete with opening day opponents Manchester City who have spent £200 million at the time of writing include £120 million on three full-backs and a possible winger. Despite finishing sixth in the league, the Portuguese coach completed his first season at United with two trophies. "I was confident last season too".

City have spent more than £200m on a squad revamp following last season's underwhelming campaign.

So how will Guardiola approach this new test of his credentials?

There should not be any shoehorning of players into unfamiliar roles this season after Guardiola signed three top-level full-backs - Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo - at a combined cost of around $161 million.

Pep Guardiola has overseen the largest summer spend in British history but claimed transfer finances are "unsustainable". Guardiola made headlines at the start of the season by loaning out long-time starting keeper Joe Hart and bringing in Claudio Bravo to replace him, but Bravo struggled and was later dropped for backup Willy Caballero.

Long-ball tactics? Not quite, but it is certainly an Anglicised approach to the game and one that he did not have in mind when he signed Claudio Bravo to replace Joe Hart last summer. They've got at least five players - Sane, Sterling, Aguero, Jesus, De Bruyne - capable of scoring in double digits, but with some questions regarding the center-forward position, the key man is likely to be De Bruyne. They must also have pace and athleticism.

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The only real attacking addition City have made is the signing of Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva.

But the stakes are high and there are no guarantees that City and Guardiola will succeed.

Top four: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool.

Such competition could yet end up resembling a vice being squeezed from both sides for Guardiola.

Because the Dream Team game - the UK's biggest fantasy football game - is back and better than ever this season.

Leicester City's unfathomable run to the 2015-16 championship provided one of the biggest highlights in betting history - but the Foxes couldn't follow it up, dangling close to the relegation line at one point last season before rallying to a 12th-place finish.

He must beat a strong field of rivals at the same time as keeping his bosses onside because, whatever the public pronouncements may be, City's owners recruited Guardiola to make the club serial winners, rather than one that trailed in among the also-rans.

Guardiola was criticised at times last season for his total commitment to attacking football.


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