Manchester City’s first four games of 2015 Premier League season

silvasterling

Manchester City have made an excellent start to the season. Three points clear at the top of the Premier League, the Blues are also eight points clear of last year’s title winners Chelsea. However, with just one month in the book and Chelsea adding more firepower in the form of three-time Champions League winner Pedro, the title race is far from settled.

The addition of Raheem Sterling has made Manchester City much more lethal going forward. Sterling’s pace and smart movement makes the Blues much more balanced in the attack and gives the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure far more space to operate in.

Best starting XI

Hart
SagnaKompanyMangalaKolarov
ToureFernandinho
NasriSterlingSilva
Aguero

Best performer

David Silva who has been operating on a different level this season. Silva, already one of the top players in the division, has pulled away from the pack. He has benefited directly from Raheem Sterling’s signing ,which has created more pockets of space and given him a pacey player either playing out wide or centrally to play off of.

Most improved player

Bacary Sagna, who has gotten games due to Pablo Zabaleta’s injury, has been flawless at the right back position and lethal going forward on overlapping runs. Sagna is showing why he had the starting right back position on lockdown for years at Arsenal before his move to Manchester City 15 months ago.

Injury news

Pablo Zabaleta has not played yet this season, Fabian Delph was injured in the preseason and not fit until two weeks ago, and Wilfried Bony has suffered repeated nagging injuries that have limited his game time.

Business completed in transfer window

The biggest move was for Raheem Sterling, considered by many who don’t support Liverpool to be the best young attacking player in European football. Sterling is head and shoulders above any other attacking player produced by England in recent years. While many found the signing controversial, from where I sit it was a complete no-brainer, and quite frankly, I was surprised Chelsea didn’t attempt to hijack the deal, as they have with so many others.

In fact, Sterling was the one player Manuel Pellegrini identified at the end of the last season that he wanted. While the other buys were largely driven by the top brass in consultation with the manager, Sterling’s was largely driven by Pellegrini himself.

Kevin De Bruyne, Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts also joined the club in this window. Leaving were Marcos Lopes, Stevan Jovetic, Karim Rekik, Juan Angel Pozo and Edin Dzeko.

CITY’S BIG SUMMER: Sterling | Delph | Otamendi | De Bruyne

A word must be given to Dzeko. His departure was a sentimental time for Manchester City fans. Without the Bosnian striker, it is arguably unlikely the club wins any of the four pieces of major silverware the Blues have earned since 2011. However, Dzeko’s form had dipped last season, and it was time to move on.

Still, City fans, unlike some of other clubs, aren’t used to the constant ins and outs of players, and Dzeko’s departure was the first time we’ve seen a player leave after accomplishing so much in terms of trophies in this era. Some supporters wanted to keep him forever, but that wouldn’t have been fair to the club or the player, given today’s landscape in the game.

Rating the manager

Pellegrini gets a 5/5 for keeping the spirit in the side high last season when his position was in doubt and beginning this season on a high. His relationship with the players and his no drama approach has worked well, particularly when compared to the leadership at other top clubs.

Weaknesses

Concerns still dog Manchester City about finding goals if and when Sergio Aguero gets injured. Aguero has faced injury at some point in each of the last three Premier League seasons, and since Wilfried Bony has proven just as injury-prone, concerns will mount. It appears Pellegrini’s plan B is to deploy Sterling as central striker in the event of Aguero and Bony being unavailable at the same time.

Forecast for remainder of season

It’s a flip of a coin right now between Chelsea and Manchester City. Chelsea has the slight overall edge in terms of squad quality, but Jose Mourinho’s antics are getting in the way of the side’s attempts.

Overall rating out of 5: 5

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