With Manchester City having swept CSKA Moscow aside to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League, and with yet another "international break" looming, it's a good time to assess some of the best wins for the Citizens under Manuel Pellegrini.
While there have been a few poor results, there's a sense of so far, so good. Success in Europe is the next part of the City project, and the Chilean knows this—just look what happened to predecessor Roberto Mancini.
As for the Premier League, City will need to improve on the road to mount a sustained title tilt, but for now let's take a look back.
The Citizens blew the Reds away to throw down a marker on the domestic front.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty summed it neatly:
It was a day of delight for new City boss Manuel Pellegrini as he watched the rampant Blues make a powerful statement about their Premier League ambitions.
The home side were 3-0 up after 47 minutes, looked sublime and threw off the memories of some turgid displays under Mancini in the biggest game of all for the die-hards.
All any City boss has to do is beat United in the eyes of many fans, regardless of European ambitions and "projects," and Pellegrini ticked that box nice and early.
At the fourth time of asking, City finally won on the road in the league with a confident display at West Ham in October.
Defeats at Cardiff and Aston Villa, bisected by a goalless draw at Stoke, asked questions of the Citizens' title credentials despite their superb derby win.
That kind of away form would not bring the title back to Eastlands, but this result put those doubts on the back-burner until another defeat—at Chelsea—turned the heat up again.
It wasn't all gung-ho, either, as the Telegraph's Oliver Brown reported:
Pellegrini calmly restored order - bringing on Aleksandar Kolarov for Alvaro Negredo in the type of cautious move that proved the spirit of Roberto Mancini was not dead - to revive his side’s campaign and expunge any memory of their pre-international break blips.
City have been almost unstoppable at home in recent years, and opponents of the calibre of Norwich stand no chance when they catch the team in this kind of mood.
The Mail's Joe Bernstein assessed the slaughter like this:
Whatever Manchester City’s away-day failings this season, their home form remains irresistible and after racing into a 4-0 lead inside 36 minutes, they strutted like peacocks with Yaya Toure’s free-kick the pick of the goals.
With the goals being spread around the team nicely, and with Pellegrini's avowed intention to rotate the squad, the Chilean has a nice dilemma on his hands when it comes to picking his sides at the moment.
City swept into the knockout stages of the Champions League with this relentless performance against CSKA Moscow.
As Tim Rich said in The Independent:
This is precisely what Manuel Pellegrini had been hired for. Especially on their own ground, Manchester City can test Jürgen Klopp’s theory that once into the open waters of the knockout rounds they can beat any team in Europe. In another corner of the continent, Roberto Mancini’s latest club, Galatasaray, lost to Copenhagen. For him, the Champions League remains a prison.
A harsh but fair assessment of Mancini. Europe's elite competition is a blind spot for the combustible Italian.
His urbane—if a little dour—successor has done exactly what he was hired for thus far. It will be fascinating to track City's progress in the middle phase of the season.