LONDON: Winning four successive top-flight titles has proved beyond any team or manager in the history of English football but if any club can break new ground it is Manchester City. Fuelled by the wealth of their Abu Dhabi owners, City have emulated treble-winning rivals Manchester United’s dominance of the late 1990s and early 2000s, raising the bar to new levels. Under Spanish mastermind Pep Guardiola they have won five of the last six Premier League titles and last season also won the FA Cup and expanded their domestic dominance to the continent as they lifted the Champions League for the first time. It could be argued that after crowning the treble with victory over Inter Milan in Istanbul, Guardiola has reached his zenith and there is nothing else for him to achieve with City. But Guardiola’s hunger for constant improvement, allied to the fact that a record fourth successive title is up for grabs, mean there will be no let-up in City’s intensity. The way they relentlessly chased surprise pacesetters Arsenal last season to eventually win the title by five points will serve as a stark warning to any club with ambitions to knock City off their perch. Influential captain Ilkay Gundogan has left for Barcelona while fringe winger Riyad Mahrez has joined the exodus to Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia with only Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic arriving. City are likely to make at least one signing before the transfer window closes, although in reality the squad at Guardiola’s disposal is so well balanced that only very light tweaking will be required to keep them out in front. However, such is the nature of the Premier League that City will certainly not have everything their own way. Arsenal were top for 248 days last season only to falter under City’s relentless pursuit but by signing England midfielder Declan Rice, a player Guardiola would have happily welcomed to the Etihad Stadium, they look well equipped to lead the chasing pack once again. Revitalised Liverpool: Liverpool, the only side to interrupt City’s march since 2017, have spent the summer trimming some of the old guard from their squad. The signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai will add energy to the midfield — something that was lacking for the first half of the last campaign. Juergen Klopp’s side’s failure to qualify for the Champions League would have stung, especially with Manchester United finishing eight points above them. United, whose ownership remains a constant source of distraction, struggled initially under Erik ten Hag last season but won the League Cup and look well placed to consolidate, although whether they can find another level is questionable. Newcastle United, who finished fourth last term, will be determined to prove it was no flash in the pan, although they will need to juggle the demands of battling for a top-four finish with the Champions League this time. The additions of winger Harvey Barnes from Leicester City and Sandro Tonali from Milan will certainly help. Tottenham Hotspur will kick off a new era under Ange Postecoglou trying to rebuild after last season’s eighth place. Postecoglou is the first Australian to manage in the Premier League and faces a big challenge at the north London club who endured a toxic 2022-23 campaign under Antonio Conte. His arrival has been largely overshadowed by the constant speculation about the club’s all-time top scorer Harry Kane and whether he will join Bayern Munich and Postecoglou will be relieved when that situation is resolved. Of the newcomers, Luton Town’s return to the top flight for the first time in over 30 years will add some intrigue and proves yet again the merits of the English pyramid. With a tiny ramshackle stadium and small budget, Luton will be expected to go straight back down but will take great heart from Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest who beat the odds and survived last season after being promoted.