Projected starting XI
Éderson; Benjamin Mendy, John Stones, Vincent Kompany, Kyle Walker; Fernandinho; Leroy Sané, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva; Sergio Agüero
How do you feel about your club's summer transfer business?
It's been nearly perfect. After a really fast start with a new goalkeeper and a new midfielder before the window even opened, we lost Dani Alves to PSG and things looked bleak for a while. But the club stepped up big time and signed three very good full-backs, which is something fans have been crying for since forever. We still need to add some depth in defense and the forward line, but even if no more business is done until the end of the transfer window, the summer transfer window was a big success and Pep Guardiola has absolutely no complaints.
Are you happy with ownership? Elated? Cautiously optimistic? Furious?
The owners backed Pep Guardiola and spent some serious money to build a squad that fits his style and is deep enough to compete in the Premier League and Champions League. City owners always spend huge money and many times they do it on wrong players for marketing reasons, but this time they actually listened to the coaching staff and brought some key reinforcements in positions of need. There's no reason to complain about the owners, at least right now.
What's the highest reasonable goal your team has and what needs to go right to get there?
The Premier League title is and should be the expectation. City already showed some promise last season despite an awful defense. With the great defenders brought in this summer and another year of Pep Guardiola working with the players, they should be able to understand his style and apply it to perfection. If we're more precise with the finishing and get a little bit of luck, winning the league is not out of reach. In fact, if City don't win the league, some serious questions need to be asked next June.
What are you scared of that might derail your season?
Injuries to Vincent Kompany. Even with all the defensive signings, our captain and leader remains the heart of our back line, and if he's not on the pitch, our chances of keeping clean sheets and winning games are not that great. Kompany has been injured for the better part of three years, but he played every minute of the final two months of last season and seems to have overcome the physical problems. But if he pulls a thigh muscle again, oh dear...
Who's a player on your team that neutrals might not know much about, but should become fans of?
Fernandinho. The Brazilian workhorse is an amazing professional who can play multiple positions and do well in all of them. He's not the most talented player in the squad, but he's got bigger heart than anyone else and it shows in every match, even if that means a hard challenge and a red card or three. Fernandinho gives everything all the time, and everyone loves him. His teammates love him, Pep Guardiola loves him, City fans love him, and anyone who watches him will love him.
Who will be your team's MVP this season, and why?
Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian had two great seasons since joining City, but this one will probably be his best. Working with Pep really made him into a better player, and he was unlucky to his the posts 12 times last season. He still led the Premier League in assists, though, and there's no reason to believe he won't do the same. We also hope that the 12 balls that hit the posts will go in, and his many contributions to goals will leads us to big things in the league. Watch out for KDB.
What do you think makes your team's fan culture better than any other team's?
The fact that the club has so much money and so much talent hasn't changed the way City fans feel: we are not optimistic. The phrase "Typical City" was created by City fans themselves, because we always believe the team will find a way to let us down. Which makes it so much sweeter when we actually believe things. We're not disappointed with losses because we expect them, even though we're always the favorites. We'll forever feel like underdogs even if we have the best striker and the best manager in the league. We're used to winning now, but we still feel like we've never won. We feel relief after a win even though we clearly should have won the game. "Typical City" keeps us honest and humble, and we party like it's the first title whenever we lift a trophy. To be a City fan is to always be prepared for bad results, and even when many good results in a row happen, we still wait for the disaster. When the disaster doesn't happen and triumph awaits, we celebrate like kids on Christmas. It's fun.
Main photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images