Manchester City half term report - will they blow the rest away?

Manchester City Etihad 2

It's the midway point of the Premier League season, and here we look at how Manchester City have been getting on so far.

Prediction at the start of the season

We thought Manchester City would be right in the thick of it when it comes to the title – and that ultimately they would lift their second title in three years under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

How have they been so far?

Formidable at home, but stuttering on the road. They seem to be scoring goals for fun and look to rack up a terrifying total in the goals for column come May. On the road it has been a bit of a different story but things could start to pick up.

Manager rating?

7/10 – solid to good, people will have probably thought they should be romping away with the title giving the talent their squad possesses, along with the amount of money spent on it over the years. His side are in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup and have safely negotiated themselves through the group stage of the Champions League for the first time – which was a big part of Pellegrini's remit when he was appointed.

Best game they’ve been involved in?

Fulham 2-4 Manchester City. They’ve been involved in a fair few, away from home and two of those games they’ve lost, but we’ll go for their win at Craven Cottage. After taking a two goal lead, they let it slip before regaining the initiative in what was an end-to-end encounter.

Their stand-out player?

There have been a few, but we’ll go for their top scorer whose finishing ability has been on the same level as a certain Uruguayan striker plying his trade at Liverpool. Honourable mentions go to Yaya Toure who seems to be performing at a consistently high level, and when he hasn’t been sidelined Vincent Kompany has looked a colossus at the back, even when his side concedes goals.

New signings – how are they getting on?

Alvaro Negredo has been a great success as he and Sergio Aguero have struck up a formidable partnership at the spearhead of the City attack, whilst Jesus Navas who was with Negredo at Sevilla has proved to be an effective winger who is quick, has a good final ball and can finish off a move himself. Fernandinho has been a constant figure in the middle of the park alongside Yaya Toure and in recent weeks has shown signs of showcasing his real quality whilst we have seen precious little of Stevan Jovetic. Martin Demichelis was brought in to solve a central defensive conundrum but he seems to be erratic to say the least, and many think of him as a weak link when he plays in the City side.

Most significant win of the season?

Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal. Some will point to wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, but Arsenal arrived at the Etihad Stadium top of the league and full of confidence. City probably didn’t need to send out another message to future visitors to their fortress home, but they did by scoring six against the Premier League pace setters.

Their low point so far?

Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City. This was their fourth away defeat of the season and it was to a side struggling to keep their head above water in the Premier League, the real surprise was they didn’t manage to score at the Stadium of Light. After this game, people were really doubting whether City could rack up the points away from home required to regain the title.

Where do they need to strengthen in January?

Do they really need to strengthen? They’ve got a side full of superstars. However, Manuel Pellegrini may be looking for a new goalkeeper given his indecision when it comes to playing either Joe Hart and Costel Pantilimon in goal.

What can we expect from them for the rest of the season?

To definitely be in the title mix, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they didn’t drop any (more) points at home this season and lift the title come May. They are well positioned to make a real charge and are the side that looks most capable of going on a long winning run.

image: © geetarchurchy

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