Is Benjamin Mendy Man City’s marginal gain? Manchester City are the first odds-on defending champions since Chelsea in 2006-7, but Pep Guardiola admits it will be ‘almost impossible’ to better last season’s record-breaking efforts. While every other club in the division has obvious scope for improvement, City’s task is to maintain their stratospheric standards and become the first side to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009. Repeated excellence can prove elusive in sport – it is tempting to stop and admire the view after climbing the mountain. Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini’s City sides were guilty of that, but Guardiola’s simmering intensity should ensure they avoid the trap. Riyad Mahrez’s £60 million arrival offers depth and variety in attack, but the most important addition could come from within: the return of left-back Benjamin Mendy. The permanently embittered pointed to City’s £130 million spend on full-backs Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker to suggest Guardiola bought his way to 100 Premier League points. This ignores the fact that Mendy tore his cruciate ligament after only four league starts and missed the rest of the season. That City barely skipped a beat with converted central midfielder Fabian Delph (and at times young attacking midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko)… Read full this story
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