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Gossip: Man City 'hottest ticket in town'

READY: Sergio Aguero in training this week

READY: Sergio Aguero in training this week

It's a case of crystal balls rather than footballs this morning as the press whip up a Premier League prediction frenzy...

There's also news from City flyer Leroy Sane and a word of warning ahead of Brighton v City from one long-standing observer, but first let's get back to the future.

The BBC has garnered the views of no less than 40 pundits ahead of the big Premier League kick-off, and it is City who emerge as overall favourites with 25 votes.

Former City man Trevor Sinclair says: "Full backs are a huge part of Pep's teams and they've recruited very well while weakening a rival by getting Kyle Walker from Tottenham, plus strengthened at goalkeeper which was a position that hurt them last season."

Gabby Logan adds: "With a fit Kompany and Stones together at the back, and new signing Bernardo Silva increasing their attacking threat, I fancy Pep to get to grips with the Premier League at the second time of asking."

Finally Kevin Kilbane reckons: "If you look at it from a negative point of view then, defensively, City might be a little wide open at times but it is made up for by the fact that they are a brilliant attacking side that is going to go out and play exciting football. For any neutrals, they will be the team to watch this season - the hottest ticket in town."

Over on Sky Sports, all four of their Soccer Saturday pundits are backing City to lift the title

"I just think Manchester City have strengthened in all the right areas where they needed to," says Matt Le Tissier. "Full-backs were what they needed to fix and they've done that pretty well and firepower-wise they look pretty awesome. How long they take to gel at the back in going to be the question and they'll leave themselves open with their attacking style, but they will still outscore everyone."

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Elsewhere 21-year-old Sane has been taking stock of his meteoric rise in the game.

"My journey in the last few years has been incredible," Sane told Omnisport, via FourFourTwo. "Since I started playing regularly in the Bundesliga it all happened so fast.

"Then I became a starter at Schalke, played my first international game and also took part in the European Championships.

"The next year I had some offers from abroad and took the step towards Manchester City and had another great year.

"It's like being in a film and that's a great thing."

Finally, ESPN columnist Simon Curtis looks beyond a busy summer of transfer activity back into the history books of Brighton v City, and finds cause to be wary.

He writes: "The opening day of the season remains one where surprises often occur, especially in the games involving the relatively unknown quantities of the newly promoted sides, but all eyes will be on Guardiola's side to make a start that confirms their position as one of the favourites for the title this season.

"Looking back 12 months, the 10 straight wins that City recorded from the big kick-off in 2016-17 eventually turned out to represent a false dawn. Undressed by Tottenham at White Hart Lane in October, they never fully recovered the striking composure which had decorated their opening fixtures.

"With a frenetic start expected on the South Coast, Guardiola's men will be looking for another smooth acceleration from the blocks. The turbulent history of this fixture will tell them not to count their chickens before they are hatched, however."

More of that here - we'll be back same time, same place tomorrow!

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Premier League previews and pundit predictions are awash in the media this morning ahead of the big kick-off.

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