Perhaps no other statement summed up Pep Guardiola’s last season more than the one he made ahead of an all-important Champions League last-16 clash against Monaco. Manchester City led 5-3 from the first leg at home. Ahead of the away tie, the gaffer felt even that wasn’t enough.
“Take the ball and attack as much as possible is the only way I know to beat this type of team,” Guardiola had said. “If one team scores 123 goals and you are thinking about only defending for 90 minutes because we won one game 5-3, you kill yourself.”
City went on to lose the second leg 3-1 and, with it, the tie. It epitomised their season completely – a runaway train when in the mood, but more often than not, lacking steel and prone to derail when adversity approached.
A third-place finish in the league and no silverware could have hardly been what City chairperson Khaldoon Al Mubarak and their legion of fans expected when Guardiola sauntered into the Etihad Stadium last year. Here he was, in flesh, the saviour to direct the team to take what they regarded as their rightful place along Europe’s elite.
But even the best-laid plans go awry. After a honeymoon period at the beginning of the season where they won their first six Premier League matches and 10 consecutively in all competitions, City fell off the precipice and never managed to find a way back. Amidst a wave of defensive fragility, Guardiola-ian rigidity often bordering on indecisiveness and the entire Joe Hart-Claudio Bravio fiasco, City settled on a third-place finish, licking their wounds.
Splurging on the defence
This season, the 46-year-old has shown early signs that while he may not completely abandon his attack-at-all-costs attitude, he may be a little more flexible. The arrival of the 23-year-old Ederson from Benfica for €40 million gives him more stability for keeping options but more importantly, he has completely redesigned the back-four which was an Achilles heel last season.
Defenders Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksander Kolarov are no longer with the team and the Citizens have spent heavily on bringing in replacements that will suit the Guardiola style of play. Kyle Walker, who signed for City in a £53 million deal from Tottenham Hotspur and Benjamin Mendy, who signed for £52 million from Monaco, will shore up the left-back and right-back positions and hopefully give Guardiola the sort of impetus he wants and needs. The 26-year-old Danilo, who signed from Real Madrid for £26.5 million and can play either as a full-back or in defensive midfield, can also pitch in whenever required.
However, much focus will also be on Vincent Kompany and his fitness. In full flow, he is the captain City desperately needs but the problem is he spends most of his time on the injury list rather than on the field. For City to bounce back, Kompany’s injury and form, along with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi’s performances, will be crucial.
Riches at front
If the issues at the back are sorted, Manchester City and Guardiola will heave a huge sigh of relief as half their job will be done. Their attacking riches are the envy of everyone else in the league and if they can put on a more consistent display through the season, few will bet against more silverware coming their way.
A front five of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus is a nightmare for most opposition defences. Then there’s the newcomer Bernardo Silva to contend with, as well. On paper, this is a lethal attacking force which can steamroll any team in the world. Kevin de Bruyne was one of City’s best playmakers last season controlling their attack beautifully in some of their best results. This season needs an encore, but something more than that – clinical ability in front.
One thing’s for sure. Guardiola can’t afford another silverware-less season. Nor can Manchester City after spending close to £200 million this summer.
1st: If this team can start playing together, no one can stop them from going to the top. And after first season’s disappointment, Guardiola will be doubly determined to make that happen
Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival
We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.
The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:
Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app
Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.
Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Plan your shopping
The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.
Track the deals
There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.
Big discounts and top picks
The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.
Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.
There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.
There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are LenovoTab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.
If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.
Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.
The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.
Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.
For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.
The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.
While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!
If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.
Check-out process and payment options
Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.
Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.