Manuel Pellegrini was clearly delighted that Manchester City came away from the Hawthorns with all three points after beating a string West Brom side 3-2. A lot of the talk surrounding City recently has been about the away form holding back the title push, because City have been destroying teams at home and scoring for fun, with 28 goals scored in the last six games at the Etihad.
When Sergio Aguero scored in injury time to give Manchester City their first ever Premier League title, it was probably the most exciting finish to a league campaign ever. Because City had got themselves in a real pickle by conceding twice to QPR, but in general the team was built on a solid defence, as well as scoring more than any other team.
This season, however, it is the defence that is letting us down. City are hitting the back of the net on a regular basis, having already scored 10 more than the next best sides, Liverpool and Arsenal. But both of those clubs are above us in the table and one of the big reasons is the poor performance of the defence.
When Manchester City qualified for the next round of the Champions League before the latest international break, it was a great step for the club and the players, and it will have taken a lot of pressure off and allowed Manuel Pellegrini to focus more on catching up to Arsenal in the Premier League.
The thrashing of title rivals Tottenham at the weekend was a great way to restart the Premier League campaign, which was a good confidence boost with three tough games coming up against Swansea, West Brom and Southampton. However, I think that City should not take their foot off the gas in Europe, for a few reasons.
There have been lots of rumours about players coming in to or leaving Manchester City and with the January transfer window just over a month away, they will only get more frequent and more outlandish as the rumour mill goes into overdrive.
One of the biggest concerns, for me anyway, was the increasing speculation linking Segio Aguero with a return to La Liga with Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have apparently wanted out Argentinean hitman ever since he played for their city rivals Atletico Madrid, and they are a bit light on strikers. They do have Ronaldo and Bale, though, but neither of those plays as a centre forward.
Joe Hart could have earned himself a recall to the Manchester City starting XI after putting in an impressive performance for England in their friendly against Germany at Wembley on Tuesday.
The under-fire keeper had not played since the mishap with Nastasic that let Fernando Torres in to score an undeserved winner for Chelsea nearly four weeks ago, but could no play against Tottenham on Sunday. Manuel Pellegrini has a big decision to make, and has hinted that he still feels that Hart would benefit from being out of the firing line.
It is believed to be one of the reasons that Manchester City’s new midfielder Fernandinho left his old club Shaktar Donetsk, and the Brazilian will now be hoping that playing in the English Premier League will put him in contention for a place in the Brazil squad that will attempt to win the World Cup on home turf.
There is a saying that no player is bigger than the team, and that is even more true at a club like Manchester City where there is plenty of top class talent on offer, but you still want to hold on to your best and most influential stars at all cost.
There has been plenty of competition between strikers at the Etihad in recent years, and that brings it’s own problems with it, but Aguero seems to have nailed down his place in the starting XI. As long as he is fit and Manuel Pellegrini is not resting him for a less important game, it is Aguero plus one, and he has responded brilliantly, scoring 13 goals in 13 games so far.
Usually when we hear about the real big money transfer rumours, they involve attacking or creative players. That is understandable of course, but Manchester City have a lot of talent in the squad already, while the defensive side of things have been really costing us.
Some may blame that on Joe Hart, but the truth is that without Vincent Kompany in the side, and even sometimes with him, City’s defence is often shaky and vulnerable. So why not spend some of the millions on a really top quality centre back to play alongside the Belgium and City captain and cover for him when he is injured.
It sounds like an April fool, but it is November. Manchester City are today being linked with what would surely be the biggest transfer in the history of world football, for the best player in the world Lionel Messi. There is a growing feeling that the Argentine international is not only the best at the minute, but the best ever, eclipsing superstars like Pele and Maradona.
Messi has a ridiculous buy out clause in his Barcelona contract, something like 250 million euros, but it was always thought to be just for show anyway, as he would never leave the Spanish champions where he has been since he was signed as an 11-year old suffering from growth hormone deficiency. Barca agreed to pay for his treatment, and the resy is history.
It seemed in the early stages of the season that Edin Dzeko was ready to prove to Manchester City that he would work hard and fight for his place. The Bosnian international was playing well, scoring and loooking happy. Ofyen in the pasy, his body language has been very expressive and suggested that he was not a happy bunny, but specualtion was that it was personal issues with the former boss Roberto Mancini.