Manchester City's 2014/15 half term report - still the team to beat?

Manchester City Stand

After an excellent first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium where he won the Premier League and League Club,

Prediction at the start of the season

It was expected that City would take some stopping when it came to the Premier League title and they would finish at least amongst the top two.

Performance so far

After a slow start to the season where they were eight points behind Chelsea in the title race, dumped out of the League Cup by Newcastle, and faced an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, City have recovered well. They're a win away from matching Chelsea in the Premier League, and put in two terrific performances in Europe to qualify for the last 16 of Europe's top competition - where they will meet Barcelona once again.

Manager rating

8/10 - It's always difficult for a manager to build on a successful season, and Manuel Pellegrini could have easily let things slide after a difficult start to the campaign. But he, along with his players, have shown tremendous character to get their season back on track.

Best game Man City have been involved in

Arsenal 2-2 Man City. They may not have been at their best but they contributed to a terrific game at the Emirates Stadium where they led through Sergio Aguero, ended up falling behind before Martin Demichelis resuced a point for the Champions.

New signings (loan or otherwise)

Fernando seems to have fitted in well in the midfield, and does a similar job to Fernandinho in the holding midfield role. Eliaquim Mangala has struggled so far but there is time for him to improve at the heart of the defence as we have yet to see why in excess of £30 million was spent on the Frenchman, and Willy Caballero has rarely been used in the City goal. Bacary Sagna has provided experience and an element of more flexibility and competition to full-back positions and has performed solidly.

Most significant win of the season

Southampton 0-3 Manchester City - With City scraping to wins, this was their first comprehensive win of the campaign against the Saints, who were riding high second in the Premier League. The manner of the display was important giving people were seemingly handing the title to Chelsea way before the halfway point in the season.

City's low point so far

Manchester City 0-1 Stoke City - It was the first time when it seemed that City could be got at on their own patch, with Pape Diouf scoring a winner for the Potters towards the end of August. One could also argue letting a two-goal lead slip against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium was also a low, given the damage it could have on their title challenge come the business end of the campaign.

Strengthening in January

Given their trouble with strikers and all three of them suffering injuries at the same time this season, it may be one area of the squad that Manuel Pellegrini will want to address. Other positions may be up for review come the end of the season.

The rest of the season

Expect them to keenly contest the title race, and depending on whether they can get past Barcelona in the Champions League, they could also go to the latter stages of that competition.

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