By Nick Teale
Expectations are high at Manchester City. They want European football, and have splashed the cash in an attempt to achieve their goal.
They’ve made a perfect start to the new season, but if City really want to impress the football community it's victories over top four teams they'll need.
Manager Mark Hughes has acquired some of the Premier League's top talent over the summer, including Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure from Arsenal.
The Gunners will know all about that pair, but what about Manchester City as a whole? We spoke to Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News to find out a little more about Saturday's opponents.
"Carlos Tevez was the signing that was most interesting. Before they started playing, Tevez was the signing that excited the fans most. Of course he's not been playing, he's been injured, but I think the fact that they signed somebody of his stature, and the fact that they signed him from under United's nose was may be doubly exciting for supporters.
"I think he's seen as a player who can help take City to another level because of his pedigree. His work rate as well is something that City have lacked, especially in forward positions in recent times. He sort of instils a new work ethic into that area of the team. I think they're hoping that he'll be a really key signing for them. Probably Adebayor has excited the fans the most of the new signings because he's been scoring the goals. That’s something that City have craved; they've needed a goalscorer. He fits the bill. He's tall, he's good on the ground, and quick as well, as Arsenal fans know."
"They might all be good players, but it's still five strikers Mark Hughes has to deal with. That's no more than most other teams would have, especially when he's quite happy to play three up front. It's quite often been Robinho, Tevez and Adebayor, and at Portsmouth it was Craig Bellamy, Tevez and Adebayor. That evens it a little bit. Mark Hughes always makes a point that when you find top players it's a lot easier to integrate them because they are such good players."
THE MAN IN CHARGE
"I think a lot of the fans had the odd reservation last season, but I think some of that was to do with Hughes' Manchester United connection, so it's been doubly difficult for Mark. He's done a tremendous job really. It's been a case of changing the club around, not just a case of building a team. I think the fact that the signings he's made this summer - and they are his signings, it's not a case of them being imposed from above - have been pretty wise buys. I think most fans would agree with that so I think he's definitely gone right up in the estimation of most of the fans."
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"I don’t think anybody at Manchester City thought that, should they break into the top four, they would take the place of Arsenal. I think if you had canvassed opinion up and down the country among football fans, I think they'd have probably thought it would be Arsenal, but I don’t think City thought that. In fact I was talking to Mark Hughes about this yesterday and he gave me a curious look when I asked did they go along with the idea that Arsenal were the weakest link.
Everybody knows Arsenal have got consistency and stability, partly through having the manger there for so long. Everybody should have learnt by now to trust Arsène Wenger. I think other managers know that's the case, that he would do something about the fact Arsenal finished fourth last season, he wouldn’t just take it, and he clearly has done that."
THE STORY SO FAR
"I think the top six should be the aim for this year, and there's good reason for that, something Mark Hughes was talking about yesterday, they haven’t got the experience as a group of sustaining that challenge yet. It takes an awful lot to keep results going throughout the season and only lose a handful of games which is all you can afford to do if you're going to finish in the top four.
"They’ve got the squad, and the size of the squad and they’ve deliberately bought players who are used to that tussle at the top, the likes of Adebayor and Toure, plus the likes of Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott who have been striving to break into the top four for a few seasons.
"They can give it a go but I would think top six is the best they can hope for, but you never can tell. They’ve had a good start put haven’t really hit top gear. If they can move it up a gear and keep that going through the year, a top-four finish would be a possibility."
THE ONE TO WATCH
"I'm sure Adebayor would love to score at the weekend. I spoke to him about it and he said he was looking forward to seeing a lot of his old pals again, that was the way he was viewing it. I think any player who comes up against his former team wants to put one over on them; I think that’s human nature. Everybody at Arsenal's fully aware of what he's capable of, he's a real handful, as other defences have found out playing against City this season. He's got the lot really, and I'm sure he'll be going hell for leather to do that on Saturday."
"Clearly you can buy success. Blackburn won the Premier League in 1995 and it wasn’t for any other reason than they spent big. Look at all the top clubs; they all spend big. This is something that's annoyed people at City and I understand why. People across the country have had a go at City for spending big, the fact is that just about all the big clubs spend big. I think you'll find before City, the top four clubs were the top four spenders, and that's not a coincidence.
"They know it takes money to stay at the top. The difference is that the top four clubs have generated their own money through being in the Champions League. If you're inside it, it's a virtuous circle, if you're outside the top four, it's a vicious circle. You need the money to get into the top four, but the only way of getting the money is to be in the top four.
"City have got the resources to break that because the money has come from outside, it's been foisted on them by the new owners. So you can buy success, it's been proved time and time again. Try telling Real Madrid you can't buy success."