Manchester City may deliver another home thumping this weekend but, until they start winning away, questions over their title credentials will remain.
Currently, a home match for Manchester City almost invariably means one thing – an absolute tonking for the opposition.
As I previewed last weekend’s match between the Blues and Tottenham Hotspur, I wrote the following:
‘With City free-scoring at home, and Tottenham one of the tightest defensive units in the top flight, it will be interesting to see which side ends the day victorious.’
I almost went one further and said that anyone expecting a repeat of the hammering Norwich City received at the Etihad should forget it; whichever side won, it would be tight.
But in the end, the only things that were tight were Andre Villas-Boas’s fists as he clenched them in the away dug-out, waiting for the punishment to be over.
With Swansea City the next visitors to the Etihad, another goal-fest could well be in the offing. But even if Manuel Pellegrini’s men racked up double figures against the Swans it still would not alleviate the real problems at the Etihad. Or should that be the problems when the club are anywhere but the Etihad?
At home this season, City have won six league games out of six, scoring 26 and conceding just two. But away from what is fast-becoming a fortress, the Blues have taken just four points from a possible 18.
They have also conceded 10 – two more than they have scored.
It is not an original statement to declare City’s home and away form as akin to Jekyll and Hyde, but no amount of Etihad thumpings will give Pellegrini’s men the title if they do not sort out their away form…and fast.
After hosting Swansea, City have three consecutive away matches, against West Bromwich Albion, Southampton and Bayern Munich. So while the almost inevitable may well happen again tomorrow, the real measurement of how far City have come will be taken in the coming weeks.
In short, if they can win away half as convincingly as they do at home, the Premier League trophy could soon be heading back to the blue side of Manchester.
image: © Gene Hunt