Football

Can Manchester City retain the title next year?

Kompany has set himself a target of seven titles with City. (©GettyImages)
Kompany has set himself a target of seven titles with City. (©GettyImages).

Outside of 12-time Premier League champions Manchester United, only Jose Mourinho's Chelsea have successfully retained the domestic title since the inception of the Premier League. So, the challenge facing Manchester City this year, is clear.

With rival clubs wasting little time to strengthen their squads in the summer transfer window, the gap between last season's best, and the rest, is closing. And, fast.

Roberto Mancini's team may have been billed as favourites to win the league title again in 2012-13, and despite the lack of new arrivals, the club are determined to justify their newfound status, and build a trophy-winning dynasty.

City captain Vincent Kompany has set himself the target of winning seven successive Premier League titles after committing his future to the Etihad Stadium until 2018 by signing a new six-year contract.

His decision to put pen to paper on a new deal came despite strong interest from Barcelona, emphasising the self-belief and ambition held, not only by the Belgium international, but everyone on the blue side of Manchester.

"I won't get another 20 years out of my career unfortunately, I probably have 10 more years at best, so I want to win as much as possible," the 26-year-old explained. "I have signed a six-year deal, so there are six titles possible within those years, and you know what? I want to get them all.

"That's the aim. We've achieved something now and people will expect the same. But what makes the Premier League the most competitive league in the world is that there will be four or five teams with their heads on the line, all thinking they can win it.

"So if we win it, there will be three or four other teams under massive pressure and if someone else wins it, then we'll be one of those teams under pressure – that's the nature of the league.

"But I still like to believe for us that we can improve. If we can improve on our points total, then we'll be up there with the top teams again."

Delivering a period of sustained success will be the hardest test of City's title credentials, though, particularly when you take into account the signings that rival clubs have recently made.

 

 

Sir Alex Ferguson has added creative midfielder Shinji Kagawa to his Old Trafford ranks, with the 23-year-old Japanese international tasked with providing the inventive flair and supply line for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck in the United attack, that was missing on occasions last season.

Chelsea have been by far the busiest of the sides capable of challenging in the higher echelons of the Premier League, with Roberto Di Matteo having already spent in excess of £65million on new signings. The Blues are looking to capitalise on their FA Cup and Champions League successes last season, and build momentum for a renewed push for the title this year.

In Eden Hazard, the club has captured one of the most exciting forward's in all of Europe at the moment - a view that is backed up by the widespread interest in his signature this summer. The announcement of Marko Marin before, and Brazilian starlet Oscar after, has also helped further enhance expectations at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal's hopes of a genuine title challenge hinge on the resolution of want-away captain Robin van Persie's future, as the club looks to commit him to the Emirates Stadium. Arsene Wenger has made a series of astute additions - namely Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud - to help replenish the Gunners' forward line, but keeping the Dutchman could prove to be the difference between domestic success and failure.

Of the other clubs worth mentioning, Tottenham will be revitalised under the stewardship of new manager Andre Villas-Boas, who himself has a point to prove, after an ill-fated seven month spell in west London.

Spurs still finished fourth last season, but failed to qualify for the Champions League, and will be desperate to negotiate a return to Europe's premier club competition.

And, finally Liverpool. Led by one of Britain's brightest young coaches, Brendan Rodgers, who replaced Kop idol Kenny Dalglish at the Anfield helm earlier this summer, improving on last season's Premier League standing will be a minimum requirement.

A new style and system which focuses on passing and possession, more akin to the traditional 'Liverpool way', will go a long way to appeasing the growing number of disgruntled Reds fans, but ultimately it's trophies that remain the number one goal.

Fabio Borini is the first fresh face to follow Rodgers to Merseyside, but the return of players like Joe Cole, and the promotion of promising young talents like Raheem Sterling, could help provide a platform from which Liverpool can grow. Either way, expect movement. Expect progression.

"We have a competition on our hands, that is clear," added Kompany. "You can clearly see all the other teams have reacted to what happened last season and come out stronger.

"But I think we'll come out stronger too because we're one season further down the line in terms of playing together, which was always our problem, the fact that we hadn't gelled over a long period of time.

"There is a big margin for us to improve, and that's all I'm looking for really, whether our main competitor is United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Tottenham.

"I think the biggest mistake we could make would be to focus just on our neighbours, as there are a lot of other teams in the competition. If other teams want to call themselves favourites then fine, be our guest. All we're trying to do is be better than last season."

Topics:
Football
Manchester City
Premier League
Vincent Kompany

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