Manchester City has only strengthened since resetting the standard for Premier League single-season excellence, and Pep Guardiola's side is positioned to take on all challengers and roll to another league trophy.

By 90Min
July 31, 2018

Complete domination, from start to finish. That short summing up may sound simplistic, but in reality, it reflects the ease in which Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side coasted to last season's Premier League title.

A total of 100 points, 106 goals scored and an unprecedented number of record breaking achievements highlighted just how dominant City were, as they cruised to their third Premier League crown in the last seven seasons.

What was most worrying for the competition was the relatively comfortable manner in which the Citizens achieved their win. Their success almost had a feel of inevitability about it as early as October, just as City were in the midst of carving out their record breaking winning streak. It would eventually end at 18 games, but in truth, the damage to the Premier League title race had already been done.

It was perhaps the hallmark of champions that when they were finally staring down the barrel of defeat at Crystal Palace, goalkeeper Ederson rose to the occasion to palm away Luka Milivojevic's last minute penalty kick. It earned City a point and more importantly, deflated any remaining optimism that lingered at neighbourhood rivals Manchester United.

From then on, winning the title simply became a formality. Whilst the Premier League's other big boys slugged it out in the fight for second and third place, City maintained their composure to breeze away at the top of the table, conquering all and sundry.

When they did show fallibility against United, inexplicably throwing away a two goal lead at the Etihad to clinch the title, they swiftly put it behind them to clinch glory with comprehensive wins against Tottenham and Swansea.

That spirit and determination to overcome the slightest setback sets this Guardiola team apart from any of their predecessors, indicating an improvement in mental fortitude under the Spaniard's tutelage.

What's worse (for the chasing pack at least) is that despite Liverpool strengthening some key areas this summer, City look fully equipped to repeat the dose of complete Premier League superiority.

The sudden Jose Mourinho inspired turmoil at Man United, change of manager at both Chelsea and Arsenal, and lack of transfer activity at Tottenham are further indicators that City are not only the best equipped, but most stable side heading into this season.

The addition of Riyad Mahrez at long last for a club record £60m will add a further dimension to Guardiola's razor sharp attack, with their attacking options now looking more devastating than ever. The failure to capture now Chelsea midfielder Jorginho after a rather protracted transfer saga was a blow, but you still feel that City have more than enough depth in the centre of the park, despite Yaya Toure's release at the end of last season.

The talented Kevin de Bruyne will play a pivotal role once more, with an extended rest after Belgium's World Cup exploits unlikely to be a hinderance to a player who pipped teammate Leroy Sané to the award for most Premier League assists last season. 

His influence alongside fellow genius David Silva holds the key to City's success, though it's the style of football implemented by Guardiola that is perhaps the most fundamental piece of the Citizens jigsaw. If these two are in unison, City are borderline unplayable.

Ball retention, drifting into pockets of space and reading of the game come naturally to de Bruyne and Silva, and with the likes of Sané, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero up top to put away the swathe of chances they create, you can't look for a minute look past City.

Couple that factor with the return to fitness of fullback Benjamin Mendy after long-term injury, and City have undoubtedly the strongest Premier League starting XI. They may not possess the squad depth of other title pretenders, but they do have the winning mentality - something that now seems to be infectious at the Etihad.

The togetherness and desire shown by the team to break new ground last season is a testament to the standards that Guardiola expects of his players - and whilst the gap may close this season, don't be too surprised if City stroll towards back-to-back Premier League crowns.

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