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Improved Away Form Gives Manchester City Look of Premier League Winners

SWANSEA, WALES - JANUARY 01:  Manchester City player Jesus Navas is spoken to by referee Phil Dowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester City at Liberty Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2014

It's becoming increasingly difficult for people to question Manchester City's title credentials.

Before the season began, some doubted the logic of their transfer dealings, with the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho seen in certain quarters as players unlikely to improve their squad. Their poor early-season away form, which prevented them from getting a good run of results going, added further dissenting voices. A side incapable of winning regularly away from home could surely not be title contenders.

However, it's becoming clear for all to see that this City side are well capable of winning their second Premier League title in three seasons.

Their 3-2 win away at Swansea was their 10th win in their last 11 matches in all competitions, a run stretching back to the defeat away at Sunderland in early November. During that period, City have won five and drawn one of their six away matches. Their form outside of the Etihad is no longer the Achilles' heel it once was.

It wasn't a perfect display at the Liberty Stadium, but there were plenty of positives for City. Jesus Navas was outstanding, Fernandinho continued his faultless run of form and Matija Nastasic put in an excellent performance alongside Vincent Kompany at the back.

 

Navas man of the match so far - Fernandinho a close second. Work ethic of both is staggering. #mcfc

— Mark Booth (@markbooth_mcfc) January 1, 2014

 

Aleksandar Kolarov, whose improvement this season has been marked, gave one of his best showings in a Blue shirt, scoring what proved to be the winner with his right foot after he'd won the ball inside his own half and ran at the Swansea defence.

SWANSEA, WALES - JANUARY 01:  Roland Lamah (L) of Swansea City watches Fernandinho (R) of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Swansea, Wales.  (Phot
Michael Steele/Getty Images

There's a clear desire amongst this group of players to win. They aren't just a collection of top quality players, but a side with an outstanding work ethic—a far cry from last season, where Roberto Mancini's fading tenure saw players who looked distinctly uninterested.

The appointment of Manuel Pellegrini was a shrewd move by Txiki Begiristain, who was attracted to the Chilean's easy-on-the-eye, attacking philosophy. City have averaged three goals a game in the league this season and look capable of outscoring whomever they come up against.

With the depth of quality in City's squad and the form they're now showing away from home, they look the most likely to win the title. Their play is organised, cohesive and, at times, brilliant. With Champions League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup involvement also on the horizon, it looks set to be an exciting few months for the Blue half of Manchester.

 

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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