Before Pep’s ‘Fourmidables’ even returned for pre season training City were active in the transfer market, first by bring Angelino back to the club by taking up the option of the buy-back clause in his contract and paying PSV Eindhoven just £5.3M for his signature.
Going on season long loans were Arijanet Muric to Nottingham Forest, Ante Palaversa to KV Oostende and Patrick Roberts to Norwich. Also Pablo Mari moved permanently to Flamengo for £1M and Thierry Ambrose transferred to FC Metz for around £2M
The Blues then broke their transfer record as they paid £63M to Atletico Madrid for Spanish International midfielder Rodrigo Hernández Cascante… or Rodri for short.
Keeper Zack Steffen then went on a season long loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf, however leaving City permanently was Fabian Delph who moved to Everton for around £9M. Another youngster gaining experience on loan was Philppe Sandler who would spend the season with Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht.
A squad of 27 players flew off to China for the Premier League Asia Trophy, minus Foden, Aguero, Jesus, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mahrez and Ederson, who were all returning to training later due to their international summer tournament commitments.
City booked their place in the Asia Cup final with a 4-1 victory over West Ham with impressive displays from the younger members of the squad.
Another City youngster leaving the club was Taylor Richards, joining Brighton for £2.5M
A more experienced side squandered endless chances in the Asia Cup Final against Wolves and despite dominating the game City drew 0-0 and lost on penalties.
The tour then moved on to Hong Kong and a comfortable 6-1 victory over Kitchee.
The final game of the tour was in Japan and City beat Yokohama F Marinos 3-1.
Two more City youngsters moved on one year loans, Tosin Adarabioyo to Blackburn and Lukas Nmecha to Wolfsburg. Douglas Luiz moved permanently to newly promoted Aston Villa for £15M.
In the traditional season opener, the Community Shield, Liverpool put out a very strong team against a still depleted City starting eleven, still missing Aguero, Jesus, Fernandinho, Laporte, Ederson, Mahrez and Mendy, despite looking a little leggy in the second half Pep’s side put up a great performance, drawing 1-1 then winning the penalty shoot out 5-4 to lift the fifth consecutive English trophy.
The only downside from the Community Shield was an early injury to Leroy Sane which was later conirmed as an ACL and it looked like he could be out of Pep’s plans for at least the first half of the season.
City did strengthen the squad however, with the signing of Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo from Juventus. The fee was around £60M, City paid around £28M and Danilo valued at around £32M moved the other way to join Juventus.
The Blues also brought in cover for Ederson and Bravo by signing 33 year old Scott Carson on a one year loan from Derby County.
The only other move confirmed before the English transfer window closed was the purchase of Pedro Porro from Girona for around £11M and he was immediately loaned out for a year to Valladolid.
The new season saw VAR introduced in all Premier League games for the first time and their were several controversial VAR decisions in City’s opening Premier League game at The London Stadium, however The Blues overcame a disallowed goal with a magnificent performance to beat West Ham 5-0 including a hat-trick for Raheem Stirling.
Unfortunately a week later despite another fantastic display by Pep’s team against Tottenham at The Etihad they could only draw 2-2. VAR incorrectly robbing City of a last minute winner and failing to see a clear and obvious penalty when Rodri was ‘rugby tackled’ in the Spurs box. Pep later commenting “maybe VAR had gone out for a coffee when the incident occurred”.
David Silva produced a man of the match performance in his 400th appearance for City as they beat Bournemouth 3-1 on the South coast. The Blues then went on to make it 14 goals in the opening four games as they beat Brighton 4-0 at The Etihad to go into the first International break, with the bad news that Aymeric Laporte would be sidelined for around six months after his knee was injured in a clash during the game with The Seagulls.
During the break over 51,000 City fans paid tribute to Vincent Kompany in his testimonal match, as Manchester City Legends drew 2-2 with a Premier League All Stars XI with all profits from the game going to the charity Tackle4MCR.
It would not be a happy return from International duty as City’s defensive frailties were exploited at Carrow Road, Norwich beating Pep’s side 3-2. After five games, although still in second place, The Blues were already five points adrift of leaders Liverpool. There was more bad news to follow as John Stones suffered a muscle injury in training and a six week absence was predicted, leaving Otamendi as City’s only senior centre back in the squad. Enter Fernandinho who slotted in beside Otamendi for City’s first Champions league game of the season.
City travelled to the Ukraine and put in a great performance to beat serial opponents Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0. Then three days later, in the match to celebrate 125 years of Manchester City, the Citizens ripped apart Watford 8-0 at the Etihad scoring the first five goals in the first 18 minutes.
A youthful City team swept aside Preston 3-0 at Deepdale in what could have been a tricky Carabao Cup 3rd Round tie. Then a stronger team won 3-1 at Everton before a second Champions League victory, 2-0 against Dinamo Zagreb at The Etihad.
A tired looking City then surprisingly lost 2-0 at home to Wolves, and moving in to the second International break of the season Pep’s side were already eight points behind leaders Liverpool, who had a perfect record of eight wins from eight games.