Will Manchester City defend their Premier League title?

Manchester City 2013-14 champions

The 2013-14 Premier League champions have had a relatively quiet summer with no major signings as such.

Bacary Sagna has been brought in on a free transfer to compete with right-back Pablo Zabaleta. Goalkeeper Willy Caballero has signed from Málaga CF with Joe Hart already a solid goalkeeper. And Fernando has arrived from FC Porto with Yaya Touré and Fernandinho to dislodge.

Manuel Pellegrini’s starting XI were good enough to win the league last season so perhaps he’s confident he can repeat with largely the same group of players.

One bonus for Manchester City would be if Sergio Agüero stays fit this season. The Argentina international was only fit for 23 Premier League games last season and also missed game time during the World Cup through injury.

Manchester City were the top scorers in the Premier League last season with 102 goals – 31 more than Chelsea who are currently the bookmakers’ favourites to take the 2014-15 title.

They were slow starters on the road last season – winning just one of their first six away games, losing four of them. Pellegrini fixed the form out after that and by winning 10 of their 13 Premier League fixtures from late-February they were able to take the title – two points ahead of Liverpool.

The Citizens have a wealth of attacking talent, although Álvaro Negredo does start the season sidelined through injury. Edin Džeko or Stevan Jovetić are then likely to partner Agüero to start the season.

Playmakers run through the Manchester City squad – David Silva, Samir Nasri, Jesús Navas and Touré all capable of playing the killer pass to one of the strikers. City also have both Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta bombing on from full-back.

Defensively, Manchester City had their issues last season, particularly at the start of it. The return of Matija Nastasić from injury to partner Vincent Kompany in the centre of defence can only be a positive for the defending champions this season. The club are also suggested to be signing Eliaquim Mangala from FC Porto who could be a useful addition if his reported transfer fee is anything to go by. And despite a horrible period during the middle of the season, Martín Demichelis came strong at the end and had a good World Cup. The Argentina defender is now 33.

Can anybody take the title away from Manchester City this season? I am leaning towards Chelsea myself but I am expecting it to be a two-horse race between the Blues and the blue side of Manchester – both potentially bridging a gap between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack.

Manchester City are an attractive 3.5 to win the Premier League with Betfair to start the season.