Manchester City are favourites to win the Premier League title next season, that is the opinion of Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo.
Speaking after seeing his Blues side lose 3-2 to City in the Community Shield on Sunday, the Italian tactician spoke of his desire to close the gap on the reigning champions, as well as runners-up Manchester United.
After a disappointing sixth-place finish last season, Di Matteo has been busy strengthening his Stamford Bridge squad, while Roberto Mancini has been comparatively quiet during the summer transfer market.
Having completed a deal to bring Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell to the Etihad Stadium, the Chelsea boss expects the Citizens to make further additions before the league opener next weekend.
"They are the champions, we have to catch up 25 points from last season," explained Di Matteo. "They are favourites, there's no doubt about it.
"Manchester United will be chasing City as well, they have a strong squad, I'm not sure if they will make any more signings but they have a strong team."
Summer signing Eden Hazard - a player monitored by both City and United - made his competitive Chelsea debut at Villa Park, and Di Matteo was pleased with his encouraging performance.
"He was lively, he caused them some problems. He had a couple of good opportunities and attempts.
"He's playing on the left and finding his feet with Ashley [Cole], but he showed some glimpses of his quality and I'm sure he'll be a big success for us."