Despite Arsenal’s fast start, this could be one of the most open Premier League title races in recent years. The North Londoners may have taken the league by storm, but it is in fact Manuel Pellegrini’s new look Manchester City side that are getting most of the headlines.
Six and Seven goal thrashings are enough to announce any team into the title race, but it is the fact that they are yet to fully hit top gear that should really instil fear into their rivals. City sit fourth and just six points off Arsenal in first, already topping the goal scoring charts for the whole league.
City are the Jekyll and Hyde outfit this year, invincible at home but pretty susceptible on the road, you get the feeling they have a lot more to give this season. This alone should give the club a lot of heart; they are well poised in the league and into the knockouts of the Champions League, this all without playing to their abilities on a consistent basis. Contrast this to Arsenal who are playing out of their skin at the minute, and you can see why so many are still tipping City for the title this season.
As has become the norm with City since their big money takeover, the summer was one of upheaval. Manager change and personnel change, the inconsistency early on was in my opinion to be expected. But slowly and surely City has pushed on, under the watchful Pellegrini they seem to just get better and better week-to-week. Last night they put away the European Champions on their own patch with what to most was second string side, a clear warning to those on the continent that doubt the clubs European pedigree.
City’s frontline has always been menacing, but the addition of Navas and Negredo over the summer has given them further ammunition. The pace of Navas down the flank combined with the aerial abilities of Negredo have made City a much more dynamic outfit. The ability to score from wide, through the middle or even a more direct long ball; defending against City is becoming an almost impossible task.
Whereas some teams require chance after chance to make the breakthrough, City only need a sniff. Bayern’s careless attitude last night exemplified this; a game they never should have lost was taken away from them in a matter of moments because of the clinical nature of City’s offensive game.
My view is that City are only going to get better. The back line still looks unconvincing and without Vincent Kompany they remain a team that you can get at. City may well outscore opposition, but the ability to defend will be of great importance to Pellegrini especially against the best sides out there. Demichelis looks a shrewd acquisition, but possibly someone that is yet to knuckle down to the rigours of the Premier League. Until City can get a fit and settled backline then they will fall short of being the real deal just yet. Investment in January will help, and I fully expect to see the arrival of another world class centre half to bolster their defence.
They may not be there yet but they are well on the way to being a powerful force in European football. We take their attacking menace for a given nowadays, but if Pellegrini can strengthen his defensive options then I am convinced that they will be a match for any club in Europe.
Impressive but with a lot more in their locker, City are the team to watch and look out for this season.