Pre-Season Focus: Manchester City
Last season was the best season in the history of Manchester City Football Club. Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League winners. Regardless of how they got there, it’s a feat they should be praised for.
The 115-alledged charges against them will hang over their heads for a little while longer from the footballing public but those City fans won’t care one little bit and will most likely crave more success. And let’s be honest, they are probably heavy favourites to win all the competitions they will enter this season.
Replacing Ilkay Gündogan who has been a crucial part of the City side won’t be easy but if anyone can do it, Pep Guardiola can.
The aim for the rest of the Premier League this campaign will be to finish with Manchester City because if you do, you will most likely become Champions next May.
Stadium: Etihad Stadium.
Nickname(s): The Citizens (Cityzens), The Blues, The Sky Blues.
Founded: 1880 as St. Marks
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Last Season: 1st
Top Scorer: Erling Haaland (52)
Played for Villa and Manchester City
Richard Dunne began his professional career with Everton where he made his debut at 17 during a 6 year spell on Merseyside. He made 60 appearances with them before joining Manchester City in 2000, for an estimated £3.5 million.
The former Ireland international joined Joe Royle at City, the manager who handed him his professional debut. He experienced various disciplinary issues during his nine-year spell with Man City but was regarded very highly by the fans. During his spell, he was part of the team that won the Division 1 title in 2002. Following 296 appearances, Villa signed Dunne for around £5 million in 2009 on deadline day, with the deal going through the following day due to a paperwork issue with the Premier League.
Dunne became a popular figure at Villa Park after making his debut in a 1-0 win over Birmingham City. He was known for his partnerships with Ciaran Clark and James Collins and spent four years with Villa making 95 appearances. The defender was released at the end of his contract in 2013 when he joined QPR on a free transfer.
Dunne made 64 appearances for the R’s in two seasons before retiring from professional football.
Could I really do this feature with City and not include the player that broke so many hearts in B6? Some have since moved on while other Villans claim they will never forgive Jack for stating how much he loved Villa only to move to City.
Jack came through the Aston Villa academy and was part of the under-19 side that won the NextGen Series in 2013. He was sent on loan in the 2013-14 season to Notts County and although he impressed, many County fans will admire him for sticking with them when he had the option to move on to a better club in the January of that season. County avoided relegation that season.
Grealish stepped up the following season and quickly became a popular player with the supporters. Both his antics on the field and off made him a popular player and so many felt he was one of them. He became the club captain and talisman at Aston Villa, making 185 appearances in Claret and Blue before a £100 million transfer to City in 2021.
Jack has so far gone on to play 54 games to date with City, winning the Premier League twice, the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Head to Head
Aston Villa: 57
Manchester City: 80
Last Meeting: Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa (12th February ’23)
Last Win: Aston Villa 3-2 Manchester City (28th September ’13)
2023/24 Fixtures: H – 5th December ’23, A – 3rd April ’24.
IN: Josko Gvardiol (£78 million), Mateo Kovacic (£26 million).
OUT: Riyad Mahrez (£30 million), Yangel Herrera (£4.25 million), Ilkay Gündogan (Free), Benjamin Mendy (Free).
IN: Lucas Paquetá from West Ham (£80 million), Florian Wirtz from Bayer Leverkusen (£75 million).
OUT: Aymeric Laporte to Al-Nassr (£30 million), Kyle Walker to Bayern Munich (£10 million).
Yokohama F Marinos 3-5 Man City (July 23)
Bayern Munich 1-2 Man City (July 26)
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Man City (July 30)