John Dykes tips Man City for title
Citizens' new manager a game-changer like Wenger and Mourinho, says Dykes
He is the face of the English Premier League in many parts of the world.
John Dykes, the anchor and presenter of the EPL's worldwide content service with 15 years of experience in the business, knows his subject matter intimately.
The Englishman, who was a guest yesterday when Singtel Media held its sponsor's signing ceremony for the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, described Leicester City's stunning title triumph last season as a breath of fresh air.
While he insisted he is not a gambling man, he believes a familiar name will return to the top of the podium next May.
"The slight favourites in my mind would be Manchester City," he told The New Paper.
"If you look down the years in the Premier League, (Arsene) Wenger came along and was a game changer, Jose (Mourinho) was a game changer, and Pep Guardiola has the capacity to do something similar.
"I believe he will have the biggest impact for the simple reason that he goes to Manchester City, who have a tremendous squad already but didn't quite perform to their potential even though (Manuel) Pellegrini did a good job.
"If he's able to get the best out of the players there, plus the ones he's already brought in, he could really do something."
In the two most recent seasons when the Citizens won the Premier League in 2011-12 and 2013-14, a key reason behind their success was a formidable attack, with Argentine star Sergio Aguero leading the way, ably supported by the likes of Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Alvaro Negredo.
Although all three of Aguero's supporting cast have since departed the Etihad Stadium, Dykes is excited to see what his prospective partnership with new £13.8-million ($24.6m) signing Nolito could reap.
BIG BOYS WILL REACT
"I'm interested to see what Nolito does," said the Essex native.
"He said that he wanted to play under Pep but, presumably, Pep wanted him as well, so he (Guardiola) must see something there that could work with Aguero.
"That could be formidable and, if so, then City could once again be deadly."
Dykes believes that the fact that City, along with many of the league's traditional heavyweights, flattered to deceive last season will see them desperate to make amends in the upcoming campaign.
The 51-year-old said: "I don't think it's a kind of collective malaise and I don't buy into people saying they (EPL sides) are not as good as the European clubs.
"I just think that, for whatever reason, the so-called traditional big clubs all fell off their standards quite substantially last season.
"As a reaction to that, they've all made moves, whether it be working commercially off the pitch to raise revenue for players and managers, or working on the pitch.
"You're going to see a reaction from the big boys this season."
Crazy hype over EPL well deserved: Dykes
The English Premier League has had to vie with Spain's La Liga and the German Bundesliga as the best football competition in Europe.
John Dykes says that for excitement and entertainment, the EPL never fails to deliver, citing Leicester City's stunning run to the title last season.
While the start of the 2016-17 campaign is just over two weeks away, Dykes, anchor and presenter of EPL's worldwide content service, believes it is already shaping up to be one of the most enthralling in history.
"What Leicester did was a bit of a game changer but it also, in some ways, was a vindication of what we've always believed about the Premier League," he told The New Paper yesterday.
"The integrity of the competition means that anyone can beat anyone and Leicester's win wasn't just a celebration of the underdogs, but also a slap in the face of the so-called big clubs… You can't take anything for granted."
The hype surrounding the coming season has not only come about because of the managerial changes involving Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte taking over Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively, but also from the new stars set to grace the field.
The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ilkay Guendogan and Granit Xhaka have already arrived, but many more continue to be linked to the Premier League, including Paul Pogba, Leroy Sane and Alexandre Lacazette.
"Logically, you can't rule out Leicester but you can't rule out 19 other clubs, too," said Dykes.
"There's Tottenham, who did well last year, and Liverpool, who showed enough signs that they're going places with a full season under Juergen Klopp.
"Then, you add the two Manchester clubs and the other two London clubs in Chelsea and Arsenal, and you're looking at a really wide spread in terms of title contenders."
When asked which new signing he is most looking forward to watching, Dykes said without hesitation: "You can't look beyond Zlatan… Wherever Zlatan goes it's a show, isn't it?
"He deserves the credit because he just scores goals and, outside of Cristiano Ronaldo, I don't know anyone who can be as muscular, athletic and powerful even at the age of 34.
"Chelsea have lots to do but (N'Golo) Kante is already a good piece of business.
"To bring that kind of energy into midfield will allow Conte to do what he wants going forward."
"I also think (Georginio) Wijnaldum (at Liverpool) can be special."
- GABRIEL TAN