What Can Manchester City Do to Get Their Title Defence Back on Track?
The season is well past its halfway mark and the title is again down to a two-horse race. Both Manchester clubs are out in front of everybody, with United on top, seven points clear of neighbours City.
United look strong, with Robin van Persie continuing where he left off at Arsenal last season. He so far has 17 goals in the Premier League and looks set to be the difference between the two clubs.
So what can City do to put the pressure back on United and repeat their heroics of last season?
Well, it doesn’t look like there will be any arrivals at the Etihad this transfer window , so the opportunity to inject new blood into the team looks set to be passed up.
Truth be told, the signings in the summer have not quite worked out. Javi Garcia has struggled to adapt to the English style of play, Scott Sinclair has struggled to get onto the pitch and Jack Rodwell has stereotypically spent the majority of the season injured.
Only really Matija Nasatic has been a success, with some really composed displays alongside Vincent Kompany at centre-back.
So if Garcia, for example, starts making an impression and playing to the level he was when at Benfica,b things could start to change. In all honesty, Garcia had his best game in a City shirt on Sunday during the 2-0 win over Arsenal.
The other two are squad players at the moment, with Sinclair probably out of his depth when it comes to playing at the elite level.
The most important thing may be putting a winning streak together over the next couple of games. If City can go through this period unbeaten, when they are without midfield catalyst Yaya Toure, it could be the springboard the team need.
If Toure can return to a side that is firing on all cylinders, anything is possible.
The one thing City seem to lack is a presence in the attacking third when David Silva is not in the side or off form, so if he suffers an injury or picks up a suspension then City could be in trouble. This seems ludicrous when you think of the riches City possess in their squad.
The likes of Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez need to step up to the plate in that respect and take some of the burden of off Silva when he is playing too. They are world-class talents who can win games on their own.
This is the time of the season where you need to have players on the pitch who will put their heart and head on the line for the team.
The likes of Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Gareth Barry and James Milner need to be playing every game as they all possess that steely determination required to pull points back in the title race.
Skill is one thing, but attitude and drive will give you the success that every professional sportsman craves.
So in summary, what do Manchester City need to do to be in with any chance of catching their bitter rivals United?
They need to pull together and show the same sort of spirit they did last season, they need to start playing to the highest of their abilities and putting teams to the sword.
A 5-0 or 6-0 victory against Fulham this weekend to really get the confidence going would be the perfect start to the rest of the season.
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