By all accounts it has been a good season so far for Manchester City. City currently sit second in the Premier League, one point behind leaders Arsenal, as well as being in the semi-finals of the League Cup. They have also reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time, something that former manager Roberto Mancini did not achieve during his two years in the competition with City. When Manuel Pelligrini arrived in the summer with a number of big money signings, many expected Man City to go on and challenge in all of the competitions they entered. After a shaky start in the league due to some poor away performances, City are now most peoples favourites to win the league.
Manchester City have been in fantastic goal scoring form this season, netting 57 times. Central to Man City’s good season has been their excellent home form. City have won all of their home league games and have scored 38 goals in the process. These 38 goals have come in just 10 games, giving City an average of 3.8 goals per home game. The freedom that the City players have been given at home is something that Pelligrini must be commended for. It is clear that he has brought a more attacking brand of football to the club, highlighted by the goal scoring exploits of individuals. Yaya Touré has managed 10 leagues goals after only half of the season. This number is already higher than the 6 league goals he managed in each of his last 3 seasons. Before injury, Sergio Aguero had already managed 13 league goals in 15 games, which is already more than the 12 goals he managed in the league last season. New signing Alvaro Negredo has also contributed well, adjusting from La Liga to score 8 league goals so far in his debut season. Even new signing Jesus Navas, who did not score a single league goal last season, has managed 3 league goals this season.
Despite all of the good home performances, City’s away form is the one concern from a great start to the new season. Although it has improved in the last month, City have only won 4 of their 10 away games. City did not win an away league game until October, and they did not win another until December. The problem away from home is largely to do with the defensive side of City’s game. City have conceded 6 league goals at home in the league, but have conceded 17 away. Many have put Man City’s problems down to the absence of captain Vincent Kompany, but in the 11 games he has played, they have conceded 16 goals. This means in the 8 games he has missed, they have conceded only 7. It can be argued that City have only lost 1 of the 11 games Kompany has played in, but they are still yet to keep a clean sheet in any away game that Kompany has played in.
Abundance of Creativity
In December City won all three of their away games, something that they will have to continue in 2014. They have managed well without top striker Sergio Aguero, winning all four league games since his injury. In terms of creativity, City have the player creating the most chances per minute in David Silva. Silva has created a chance every 20 minutes, and has managed 5 assists so far this season. After a slow start to the season, Jesus Navas has also begun to show his quality. Navas has managed to create 7 clear cut chances this season, and has contributed 6 assists. With the three goals he has scored, Navas has become an important component to City’s team. Defender Pablo Zabaleta has been regarded by many as the best right back in the Premier League, and he has supported that claim with 5 assists this season. It is clear that Manchester City have players who can create in all positions.
Going into 2014, Manchester City fans will be confident of their club challenging for honours. If they can maintain the good away form they showed in December, they will be challenging for the Premier League come May. They are two games away from a trip to Wembley for the Carling cup, in a semi-final tie that they are expected to win. Although they have a tough Round of 16 tie against Barcelona, they will be full of confidence after beating Bayern Munich away in their last Champions League game. Having reached the final of the FA Cup in two of the last three years, City will also feel they have the resources to challenge for the competition again. With Aguero to return soon, things should only get better for Manchester City, but as this Premier League has shown this season, anything is possible in football.