Manchester City are facing a big January after digging themselves a bit of a hole in the English Premier League title race.
They're off the pace of local rivals Manchester United and face the temporary departure of Yaya Toure, too. Roberto Mancini has his work cut out to guide the defending champions through this tough period, and here's four objectives for him this winter.
Read on for more details.
Roberto Mancini's incessant rotation of his front line is one of the reasons Manchester City have been so inconsistent this season.
The Italian has a big squad and he's right to juggle it when games come thick and fast, but the first XI has remained relatively constant with the exception of who plays up top.
Edin Dzeko looks crestfallen even when he plays—he has no belief that his manager values him as an option. The Eastern European target man is playing second fiddle to Argentine duo Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, while Mario Balotelli looms ominously.
Discontent in the ranks is harming the campaign. Oh, and speaking of Balotelli...
Everyone's sick of him. Even Roberto Mancini, who has vast experience in dealing with the troubled Italian, is fed up with his antics.
He simply hasn't caught fire like we expected him to after a superlative Euro 2012 tournament, and he's only managed one league goal so far this season.
Right now, the only thing you can guarantee is he'll score a penalty. When the ball isn't on the spot, however, confidence is low for him to score.
There are players aplenty on Manchester City's books that need to look elsewhere.
None more so than Samir Nasri, who is frankly an embarrassment to world football. The antics he pulled at Carrow Road—calling for a stretcher in seemingly agonising pain, before jumping up to headbutt Sebastien Bassong two seconds later—were absolutely deplorable.
Manchester City need a better behaved and more talented option in the attacking midfield position. If they can somehow shift Nasri and take on Isco, that's a seriously good January in the bag.
After the 3-0 victory over Stoke City, Yaya Toure began his preparation and departure for the African Cup of Nations 2013.
That's a big hole to fill, and ideally Roberto Mancini can paper over the crack using the current squad rather than recruiting new players.
Javi Garcia has had a mixed half-season in Manchester, while Jack Rodwell has been absent with a hamstring injury. Could Abdul Razak be the answer?