Of the six superstar coaches, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is the one whose reputation took the biggest battering last season.
After a blistering start to the campaign which saw the moneybags register 10 straight victories, they floundered badly, eventually settling for third place.
City’s trophyless season forced pundits to admit Guardiola’s predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini, wasn’t that bad after all.
Several factors contributed to City’s season going from brilliant to dismal. Chief among them was inability to keep clean sheets courtesy of shambolic goal-keeping.
Guardiola’s penchant for wanton rotation in complete disregard for form also affected key players.
John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero were particularly affected by Guardiola’s indecision on which was his Starting Eleven. But Guardiola was not the world’s premier coach for half a decade without reason.
By the back end of last season, the Catalan had mastered both his team and the rigours of English Premier League (EPL) football.
He has cut the team’s average age by flogging off Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Jesus Navas and Aleksandar Kolarov, all of whom were over 30.
The injection of youth into the team can only result into a more vibrant, energetic City.
Quantity & quality
On paper, no team can match City’s resources. For example, the Royal Blues have six players who are capable of getting into double figures for goals scored.
Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Yaya Toure and Leroy Sane are all potential match winners. No other top six rival boasts such resources.
If they can keep Vincent Kompany fit, City will have solved half of their defensive shortfalls. His leadership and organisational ability on his return from an extended injury lay off was key to plugging the leakages that had reduced City’s defense to a laughing stock.
International Champions Cup emphatic victories over heavyweights Real Madrid (4-1) and Tottenham Hotspur (3-0) had Guardiola purring. Expect more of the same as they try to atone for a dismal season.
As we all know, winning the Premier League requires a mixture of resources, drive, indefatigable spirit and luck with injuries.
Thankfully for City, after last season’s implosion, they aren’t burdened by the tag of overwhelming favourites and have a coach on a mission to restore his battered reputation.