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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Manchester City: Premier League preview and prediction 2008/9

A financial shadow lies over Manchester City but as long as the transfer window shuts before any damage is done to the squad then Mark Hughes should be able to steer City into their best finish since Peter Reid guided City to fifth in 1991/2. In season one the challenge will be to get close to the big four (which Sven Goran Eriksson managed last season) and then stay there (which he didn't). City have an excellent squad with youth like Richards, Johnson and Hart added to experienced players like Elano and Petrov (who will both last the season better second time around) as well as stalwarts like Hamann and Dunne. If the record signing, Jo, proves worth the money spent then City really will have a side.

55 points last time out seems beatable, especially given the collapse at the tail-end of last season, and I would expect City to top 60 points and grab fifth. If one of the big four has a desperate season City could sneak past them - but it will be a tall order.

TRANSFERS TO DATE Ins: Jo (CSKA Moscow), Tal Ben Haim (Chelsea).

Outs: Georgios Samaras (Celtic), Andreas Isaksson (PSV Eindhoven), Geovanni (Hull), Emile Mpenza (released) Paul Dickov (released), Sun Jihai (Sheffield United), Matthew Mills (Doncaster).

RECENT LEAGUE FINISHES Recent league position: 9-14-15-8-16 Recent league points: 55-42-43-52-41

SPREAD BETTING Sporting Index final position prediction: 9th Sporting Index points prediction: 52 - 53.50 points

Sporting Index are expecting City to decline slightly from last season, but given the improved side, good new manager and the bad end to last season a reasonable increase in points seems more likely. A buy will be profitable if City get 54 points or more - a total City achieved after 35 games last season.

Example: £10 buy Manchester City season points at 53.5 Manchester City get 64 points: You win £105 Manchester City get 59 points: You win £55 Manchester City get 54 points: You win £5 Manchester City get 49 points: You lose £45 Manchester City get 44 points: You lose £95 and so on

PREDICTION Finish 5th, 60-65 points

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