City, he says, will still have their rivals playing catch-up with a brand of football which often took his breath away last season in the Premier League and League Cup-winning campaign.
Lampard, 40, told the Daily Star: “I think City are the benchmark still. I don't think too many will disagree.
“Now Riyad Mahrez has come into the squad to give them an extra attacking force. So I definitely think they will be the benchmark. Once we get down to the nitty gritty, I think everyone will be chasing them.
“They impressed me for sure last season because they were enjoyable to watch with the ball.
“And they were an absolute force without the ball in terms of their work-rate.
“In terms, too, of Pep Guardiola and what we expected of him when he came here and the effect he's had at the club, I think it was great to watch. I know City pretty well as a club and I know from the top and from Pep, that they are very focused on the plan and where they want to go and the vision for the future.
“It's very consistent. They have a very, very strong squad and in Mahrez have added to a lot of quality.
“I think they are in a good place."