A season after winning the Premier League title, Manchester City were largely disappointing in 2012-13. They finished 11 points behind Manchester United and won just one piece of silverware—the season-opening FA Community Shield against Chelsea.
But with a new manager and plenty of new faces on the squad, expectations will be high this season, and a much larger trophy haul will be expected.
So, what does Manchester City's schedule look like? When will the big boys of the league come calling, including United, Arsenal and Chelsea?
Let's take a look at this season's schedule for the Citizens.
|July 27||TBA||Manchester City||TBA (N)||Barclays Asia Trophy|
|Aug 1||TBA||Manchester City||TBA (N)||Audi Cup|
|Aug 10||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Arsenal (N)||Friendly|
|Aug 17||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Newcastle United||Premier League|
|Aug 24||10 a.m.||Cardiff City||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Aug 31||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Hull City||Premier League|
|Sep 14||10 a.m.||Stoke City||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Sep 21||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Manchester United||Premier League|
|Sep 28||10 a.m.||Aston Villa||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Oct 5||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Everton||Premier League|
|Oct 19||10 a.m.||West Ham United||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Oct 26||10 a.m.||Chelsea||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Nov 2||11 a.m.||Manchester City||Norwich City||Premier League|
|Nov 9||10 am.||Sunderland||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Nov 23||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Tottenham Hotspur||Premier League|
|Nov 30||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Swansea City||Premier League|
|Dec 3||3 p.m.||West Bromwich Albion||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Dec 7||10 a.m.||Southampton||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Dec 14||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Arsenal||Premier League|
|Dec 21||10 a.m.||Fulham||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Dec 26||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Liverpool||Premier League|
|Dec 28||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Crystal Palace||Premier League|
|Jan 1||10 a.m.||Swansea City||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Jan 11||10 a.m.||Newcastle United||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Jan 18||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Cardiff City||Premier League|
|Jan 29||2:45 p.m.||Tottenham Hotspur||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Feb 1||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Chelsea||Premier League|
|Feb 8||10 a.m.||Norwich City||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Feb 12||2:45 p.m.||Manchester City||Sunderland||Premier League|
|Feb 22||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Stoke City||Premier League|
|Mar 1||10 a.m.||Manchester United||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Mar 8||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Mar 15||11 a.m.||Hull City||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Mar 22||11 a.m.||Manchester City||Fulham||Premier League|
|Mar 29||11 a.m.||Arsenal||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Apr 5||10 a.m.||Manchester City||Southampton||Premier League|
|Apr 12||10 a.m.||Liverpool||Manchester City||Premier League|
|Apr 19||10 a.m.||Manchester City||West Bromwich Albion||Premier League|
|Apr 26||10 a.m.||Crystal Palace||Manchester City||Premier League|
|May 3||10 a.m.||Everton||Manchester City||Premier League|
|May 11||10 a.m.||Manchester City||West Ham United||Premier League|
*N signals neutral site. Schedule information courtesy of the official club website.
Without question, the 2012-13 season was a major disappointment for Manchester City, a side rife with talent but lacking continuity. The Citizens ended up an unacceptable 11 points behind league-winning side and rivals Manchester United.
Seeing how much money has been spent on the club over the years, that result—along with being eliminated from the Champions League in the knockout phase and falling to relegated Wigan in the FA Cup title game—was simply not to be tolerated.
Enter Manuel Pellegrini to replace Roberto Mancini as manager. And enter two more expensive but talented players, midfielder Fernandinho for £30 million and crafty winger Jesus Navas for £14.9 million.
While the Citizens are sure to have a high-profile departure or two as well—and will likely add a few more players on the market—at present this is a team that has the talent to win the league.
Where will Manchester City finish in 2013-14?
Manchester United will likely be their top competition again this season, even with new manager David Moyes stepping in for the retired Sir Alex Ferguson. With Robin van Persie leading the line and a major signing sure to shake up the ranks, the Red Devils will once again be a force to be reckoned with.
Ditto for Chelsea, which brought back "The Special One," Jose Mourinho, for his second stint at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are sure to splash some major cash this summer in the hopes of earning a title and have an exciting young core highlighted by Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the smaller, more technical Chelsea from last year will fit Mourinho's desired style of play. As usual, things should be very interesting at Stamford Bridge.
Over at Arsenal, the Gunners managed a top-four finish despite having one of their weakest sides in recent memory. The scrappy side was led by one of the best signings of the summer in Santi Cazorla and emerging superstar Theo Walcott.
With the club promising its supporters that plenty of money will be spent this summer in the pursuit of a title, the Gunners could finally end their trophy drought this season.
Finally, Tottenham should stick around the title conversation. Well, if they can hold on to Gareth Bale, that is. Spurs have a talented side and could be a real title threat if Bale sticks around and the team can add a lethal striker.
Beyond that, matches against Liverpool and Everton will be serious tests, but the Citizens will be expected to beat every other team they face on the table.
Anything less than a Premier League title this season will be considered a failure (barring a Champions League conquest, that is). Let the Pellegrini era begin.