As the reigning Premier League champions, expectations at Manchester City were high heading into the 2014/15 campaign.
A slight wobble out of the blocks led some to write them off, with Chelsea surging well clear at the summit, but Manuel Pellegrini’s men have silenced the doubters while moving ominously through the gears.
They have had a number of important figures performing at the peak of their powers and will hope to have got all of their bad luck out of the system – on the injury and form front.
They will end 2014 very much in the title picture and leading the top-flight charts in a number of key areas, as the Opta statistics below show.
Top marksman: Sergio Aguero has not kicked a ball in anger since December 6, but the Argentine hit-man remains the Premier League’s top goalscorer and has already plundered 19 in all competitions.
|Sergio Agüero||Man City||14||15||1,053|
|Papiss Demba Cissé||Newcastle||9||13||633|
Filling their boots: Aguero’s efforts have helped City to match league leaders Chelsea in the scoring stakes, with Pellegrini’s side averaging a little over two goals a game (2.16).
Shoot on sight: Given the success they have enjoyed in front of goal, it comes as no surprise to find that City have fired in more shots this season than any of their top-flight rivals.
|Total Scoring Att||Appearances|
Tearing it up: City have worked hard to assemble a world-class squad, at some considerable cost, and the ability they have brought on board has allowed them to pick opponents apart in open play.
Catch us if you can: City are also a side that can hurt opponents in a number of ways, with the pace and power in their ranks making them a considerable threat on the counter.
Ones that got away: Things could have been even better for City as well, with only Arsenal having squandered more ‘big chances’ this season than Pellegrini’s side.
|Big Chance Missed||Appearances|
Rattling the frame: City have also been left cursing their luck on more occasions than any other side this season, with the woodwork preventing them from adding to an already impressive goal tally.
Running the show: As a side looking to successfully defend their top-flight crown, City would be expected to dominate possession every time they take to the field – and they have not disappointed.
Playing keep-ball: Having seen more of the ball than any other side in the division, City have also played the most passes – almost 900 more than closest challengers and arch-rivals United.
Mixing things up: Some managers are reluctant to tinker with their plans, but Pellegrini has used every one of the substitutions available to him – with three changes made in every game.
Manchester City will feel that they remain the side to beat in 2015 and have every reason to believe that they will be there or thereabouts when major domestic and European honours are handed out at the end of the season.
The Premier League title race looks set to go down to the wire, while progress has been made in the Champions League and Pellegrini will be desperate to make his mark on the grandest of continental stages.