Manchester City waited for 45 years to win the English top flight; now they are targeting their third title in four years.
Manuel Pellegrini took City to the top of the tree in his debut season in charge, seeing off challenges from Chelsea and Liverpool to claim the title despite lengthy injury absences for some of the squad's best players.
With many of City's title rivals strengthening significantly over the summer, Pellegrini has waited until late in the window to start bolstering his title-winning squad. With just a week to go until kick-off, defensive midfielder Fernando and back-up defender Bacary Sagna were City's only acquisitions, but last Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal appears to have persuaded the City owners to loosen the club's sizeable purse strings. France centre-back Eliaquim Mangala came in for a whopping 30 million pounds on Tuesday, with Pellegrini likely to pair him in defence with captain Vincent Kompany to add quality to the only area of the squad that looked light on numbers last season. And since Mangala's arrival, both Kompany and star striker Sergio Aguero have agreed mammoth five-year contracts to stay at the club.
Kompany has been at the centre of City's success on the pitch in the last five years, and he believes that the squad is now more capable of competing on multiple fronts than any of the other top teams in a very competitive Premier League.
"I don't see any club which has as much ambition as us for the future," said Kompany. "I don't see any club who can honestly say every season they are going to compete for as many trophies as we are.
"Our goal is to win the Premier League again. We've worked really hard to get to this level, so we're going to make sure we maintain that. We want to keep the badge on the side of our shirts for a bit longer."
Newcastle United have not tasted victory against City for almost a decade, with 14 defeats and two draws since a 1-0 win at St James' Park in 2005. Pellegrini's side won all three meetings between the two clubs last season, running out 8-0 winners on aggregate - including a 4-0 hammering on the opening day of last season. The Magpies have lost all of their last 10 meetings with City, being out-scored 29-5 and failing to score in the last four.
Sunday's opener may be a tough start, but Newcastle go into the 2014-15 season with renewed confidence after a disappointing end to the last campaign. The departure of midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain in January completely derailed the Magpies' season, but manager Alan Pardew believes that the finances raised in the last few years mean that the club are now in a position where they can be happy with their transfer business.
"It's taken us a while to build and we have had to lose one or two great players along the way, Cabaye in particular," Pardew said. "But we always knew that once this summer came, we could make a bigger step, maybe, and hopefully that's reflected in performances."
The Magpies have brought in a number of impressive players over the summer, with the highly-rated Ajax attacker Siem de Jong amongst the most interesting additions to the Premier League.
Newcastle are likely to start the season without the injured Davide Santon (knee), Pappiss Cisse (knee) and Ryan Taylor (knee), while City are missing Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Manuel Pellegrini
- Vincent Kompany