Manchester City are not exactly struggling this season, but the Citizens have hit a few bumps along the road this season.
Roberto Mancini’s side suffered a 4-2 home defeat to Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup and also suffered a 3-2 defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
The Capitol One Cup wouldn’t have been high on Mancini’s wish list this season, but despite putting out a relative strong team the English champions still succumb at home to a very average Aston Villa side.
City has also already drawn with Liverpool and Arsenal this season. The results won’t worry Mancini as much as the performances. In both matches City looked flat, especially against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
The Manchester City players looked tired when they faced the Gunners. The away side just looked sharper and had they been more clinical in front of goal City could have been facing up to their first home defeat in more than a year.
City boss Roberto Mancini hasn’t really settled on a favoured formation this season and it has caused the team to look ragged at times. They haven’t found the same fluency they had last season.
Once the Italian has settled back into the favoured formation of last season I think City’s performances will improve. The 4-2-3-1 formation has been the bed rock which City has built their success on.
The return to fitness of Argentinian international Sergio Aguero will be a boost for City and their boss. The striker obviously needs more game time till he is fit, but once he regains full match fitness I think that City will look like a different team.
Not just has his team seemed unsettled this season, but Roberto Mancini has also seemed unsettled. His row with Villa boss Paul Lambert during the Capital One Cup tie illustrated his frustration at his team’s performance.
Mancini apologised to the fans for his teams display. He knows his team are not performing and that is coming out in his behaviour on the touchline. Mancini is bound to feel the pressure.
He has spent a vast fortune on building a team that should be capable of dominating the English top flight. Instead that team is floundering slightly, although not completely struggling just yet.
I doubt the Italian will be hitting the panic button yet. The season has only just begun, but as Brazilian full-back Maicon has stated recently City can’t afford to fall behind the likes of United, Chelsea and even Arsenal.
One area of the team that will be concerning the Italian is his defence. Last season Manchester City was solid at the back, with the likes of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott imperious at the back.
However, this season the defence looks wide open. City keeper Joe Hart has probably seen more action at the start of this season, than he did in the whole of last season. The changing of formations hasn’t helped the champion’s backline either.
One week City play with four at the back and the next with three at the back, even for quality players this can cause problems. City need to get back to what brought them success in the first place, as I previously stated.
Mancini has been testing out different formations, but the formation that the Citizens used last season seems to bring the team the most success. Why change a winning formula? Mancini’s assistant David Platt claims that he isn’t changing a winning formula, just trying to improve upon it.
In short most teams knew how Manchester City were going to play last season and couldn’t stop them anyway. Granted they only won the Premier League title with the last kick of the campaign, but that was down to poor performances, not the formation.
It’s only early in the season and Manchester City’s performances will improve. They will no doubt be there or thereabouts when the big trophies are handed out at the end of the season.
However, they need to improve on recent performances if they are going to retain the Premier League crown.
Can Manchester City retain their Premier League crown this season?