Manchester City will look to begin their title defence on an optimistic note as their newly crowned captain, David Silva and the rest of his team will clash against West Ham at the London Stadium tonight.
However, ahead of their opening match, here are some of the most intriguing questions about the club answered by the most dedicated Indian supporters of the Citizens.
You have one of the best rosters in the League, does that make the expectations of defending the title more difficult to keep up with?
“On the contrary, it's easier to deal with the expectations when you know the best manager in the world has one of the best assembled squads at his disposal,” says Bhavya Mamgain, an ardent fan of the Sky Blues. “If anything, it's the 'typical City' feeling that would restrain me or any other City fan from keeping high expectations. And if there's any manager and a group of players whom I would trust to prove to me everytime that it's a thing of the past now, it's the current squad City have right now.
“Last season, we missed our best player and the only recognised left back for almost the entire campaign and were up against a rampant Liverpool side. At one point, we fell 10 points behind them. But City still went on to win the title. Now we could lose leroy sane for 6-7 months. At no point though, did I expect City to crumble. Yes, when you are 10 points behind, you feel the title race is over but with this group of players and the manager, you know they will fight 'til the end. And they did, upholding City's motto 'superbia in proelio' which means 'pride in battle'.” Pep Guardiola called teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs 'contenders' for the title this season, while their own fans do not believe so. What does that say about your leader?
“While playing in the toughest league in the world, it would be immature to say the other 'top 6' sides are not contenders. It's a league where every team pushes others for a bigger challenge every season. In last year's Champions League, we saw four Premier League sides making it to the quarter finals while both finals of the European competitions were contested between the English sides,” says Yuvraj Sehgal.
“Talking about Pep, he has never taken his opponents for granted. There were quite a lot of eyebrows raised last season, when he fielded his first team in cup competitions against every team, not only against pl sides but also against the likes of Burton, Newport and Rotherham.
“His message to the team and the media fraternity has always been very clear – that Manchester City as a team always tries to do better with each game and try to achieve perfection at every position. And I do believe that seasons like Centurions and Fourmidables are not scripted overnight. They have been made possible by the exuberant leadership of Pep.” Who do you consider your biggest threat this season? Liverpool again?
“We saw one of the toughest title races last season, and it would be pretty ignorant to assume Liverpool will just fade away this season. They are the champions of Europe and will come strong for the Premier League since that's the trophy they badly need. But this year, Liverpool will not be the only threat. I guess spurs are finally ready to challenge us as well. With a great transfer window and some really good signings, a new high capacity stadium, the success of last season and the depth in their squad to cover up the main stars, they are better suited to challenge for the league this time,” says Ankit Khanna. “So, it's going to be a three-way battle (pretty much like last year?) between City, Liverpool and the Spurs, with Spurs challenging till the end and not fading away real soon. Hopefully though, it will finish in our favour!”
Manchester City fans are called plastic fans, they are called “bandwagoners” who jumped ship as soon as they began to play well. How do you respond to that?
“A football fan falls in love with the game first, not a club directly. Then the fan chooses a club and sticks to it, in most cases, for the rest of his or her life. Most of the City fans choose City because of the way they play football. Attacking, entertaining, total football,” opines Ankit Sharma.
“Overseas fans of the Premier League are not bound by patriotism based on area or zip code; hence we can make our informed choice. New fans usually associate with a club based on the style of play and ideology, not based on history section of Wikipedia or trophy records from half a century ago.
“Liverpool and Manchester United have big fanbases, due to their success in the 1980s, and subsequent decades in both England and Europe. Their overseas fans became associated with the club during those years of success, because if only history was the criteria, many of them would be Aston Villa or Everton fans. So, the hint of hypocrisy mostly stems from the fear of losing bragging rights.
“So, it doesn't really matter how you end up following a club. All that matters is that once you associate yourself with a club, you stick with them through thick and thin. We plan to do the same. We plan to be loud, proud and loyal.
Your honest predictions for the season?
Fourmidables, that was our last season. Liverpool did give us a fight in the League, but the team played like worthy champions in the second half of the season to defend the Premier League title. How do we improve upon our last season's glory? We do it by winning the champions league along with the Premier League and that's my prediction for this season,” says Puneet Upneja.
Kevin de Bruyne would be roaring to go this season, given he was injured last season and is my favourite for player of the season award and of course, Aguero will be the top scorer.
Bhavya, Yuvraj, Ankit Khanna, Ankit Sharma and Puneet Upneja belong to the Man City Delhi Supporters Club. Check them out here on Twitter.
[The article was originally published on MensXP.com]