The defending Premier League champions, Manchester City, had a magnificent season a year ago. However, inconsistency has cost them dearly this year. In fact, they sit 14 points behind the league-leading Manchester United, who have been crowned champions with five games to spare.
With a high-caliber roster, City found their feet for most of the season, but couldn’t hold their ground when it mattered. Whether it was making inexcusable mistakes on defense or the inability to finish shots in front of frame, City managed to drop vital points on several occasions.
Their record: 21-8-5 … with a goal difference of +30 — that is nothing short of greatness in any league but the Premier League. United are 27-4-4 with a goal difference of +43, which is simply sensational and of course, acceptable for a champion in the Premier League.
With a team performing at the highest level on a seemingly never-ending basis like that, winning or defending the title is hard for a team that can only breathe down the champ’s necks.
City won the title last season against United via goal difference, and there is some luck there (can’t lie). This season, United stormed right back to their title … even though City managed a 2-1 victory at United’s Old Trafford stadium. Winning against the best is possible, but winning against the rest has to be feasible.
Buying some of the world’s best is easy, especially with rich owners. However, building a team that can mesh together on and off the field is much harder than splashing the cash. If City cannot stay consistent as a unit by defending heartily and attacking successfully, there is no chance they will retake the title back from arch rivals United. No chance.
Coach Roberto Mancini needs to field the best available line-up at all times. No gambling with young players, and no pairing of players unfamiliar with one another in the defense or the attack.
Vincent Kompany can lead the back four to many clean sheets if they listen and don’t make horrendous mistakes. David Silva is the midfield general in his central attacking role. Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure play near him and can be game-changers at times, but aren’t as good on the ball and their vision aren’t the greatest.
With Kun Aguero, Carlos Tevez, and Edin Dzeko all being strikers, City are lacking one type of attacking weapon: a winger. Wingers have speed, strength, and ability to get down the flanks on either side to orchestrate attacks either by dribbling in and finding an easy shot/pass, or by sending in a killer cross that can be headed/volleyed home.
Almost every position is filled with perfection, but the openings that are there need to be filled as soon as possible. Maybe in the summer, City can make a run at Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, or even Gareth Bale. One of those three can change the dynamic and be the offensive flare of the team in an instant.