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Manchester City's Improved Away Form Spells Trouble for Their Rivals

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Jesus Navas of Manchester City scores the third goal  during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on December 21, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2013

There’s been much collective head-scratching in the Blue half of Manchester this season, as fans have tried to figure out why there has been such a disconnect between Manchester City’s home and away form. It has been unfathomable. How can a side who have comfortably beaten all comers at the Etihad lose to Cardiff, Villa and Sunderland away?

Seven points from a possible nine away from home suggest things might be changing. It's the best run of away form they’ve managed in the league this season. Add to that the recent wins away at Bayern Munich in the Champions League and Leicester City in the League Cup, and the picture becomes all the brighter for those City fans struggling to comprehend the vast difference in away and home results.

City’s form in general is exceptional. Since the defeat to Sunderland in November, they have taken 16 points from a possible 18 and have won eight and drawn one of their last nine matches in all competitions. Whichever way you look at it, it’s clear their season is now really going.

If their current run is maintained, and City’s away form continues to improve, they will surely be lifting the Premier League trophy in May.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Vincent Kompany of Manchester City celebrates scoring their second goal with Martin Demichelis of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on December 21,
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Despite not playing at their absolute best, the win at Fulham demonstrated character in abundance.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini, per a report from the Mirror's Mike Allen, said:

The Premier League games are always close, especially when home teams are in bad positions in the table.

We knew it would be difficult. Before they scored for 2-1, we had three or four chances to score and when you miss so many the other team often scores.

We had some bad luck for their second goal, it was unbelievable, but it was important for us to recover.

At 2-2, they were playing better than us, we were nervous and not doing the right things.

Without Pablo Zabaleta, Micah Richards, Sergio Aguero, Matija Nastasic and Stevan Jovetic, and pegged back from 2-0 up to 2-2, City rallied and found an extra gear, scoring two more goals to seal the win.

That's 79 goals in total this season—a remarkable achievement that makes City one of the best sides in Europe to watch. The fourth goal, scored by the in-form James Milner, came after an outrageously good, outside-of-the-boot cross from Alvaro Negredo, who continues to impress. You're unlikely to see a better assist this season.

There are players in form all over the pitch. Martin Demichelis is settling in nicely after a difficult start and is incredibly dangerous from set pieces, Vincent Kompany brings organisation and leadership, Aleksandar Kolarov is playing the best football of his City career and Gael Clichy has drastically reversed his form, which was poor earlier in the season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Jesus Navas of Manchester City celebrates scoring their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on December 21, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Yaya Toure and Fernandinho are the best central midfield partnership in the league, and Negredo brings power, pace and goals to attack. They score goals seemingly at will, and with the creativity of David Silva and Samir Nasri, and the pace and width offered by Jesus Navas, there isn't a lot City can't do going forward.

29 - Yaya Toure has now overtaken Uwe Rosler's tally of 28 goals scored for #MCFC in the Premier League with 29. Bomber.

— StatCity (@StatCity) December 22, 2013

The only thing holding them back was their away form, and that appears to be improving. City's rivals should be afraid.

Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.

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