Pellegrini Happy with Striking Options as City Attempt to Break Scoring Records

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

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Manchester City hit their 99th goal of the season in their 5-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup, and afterwards manager Manuel Pellegrini said that choosing between his three strikers was "no problem".

Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko both scored two, and Sergio Aguero grabbed one less than a minute after coming off the bench for his first appearance in a month after suffering a calf injury against Arsenal in December.

City's goal tally of 99 is a remarkable achievement made possible by Pellegrini’s attacking philosophy that has defined his brief tenure so far. His side continue piling forward no matter what the score is—an approach which has seen them post an array of impressive results, particularly at home.

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Negredo has scored 21 goals, in what has been a superb start to life in English football for him, Aguero has 20 and Dzeko has 15.

Negredo and Aguero had struck up a wonderfully intuitive understanding prior to the Argentinian's calf injury, and City will be desperate for that to be rekindled now that the he is back in action.

And then there’s Dzeko, whose form has improved hugely in recent weeks after a mixed start to the season. He can often appear disinterested and unable to influence a game beyond scoring goals. But in Aguero’s absence he has linked play well, used his strength to greater effect and influenced the team far more than he was doing during the opening months of the season.

Some managers would see choosing between the three as a selection headache, but Pellegrini said City's hectic fixture schedule means they'll all be needed.

For me that is no problem. It's a problem when you have no players to choose.

Alvaro and Edin are in a good moment, but it was very important that Sergio comes back in this game. We have so many games that we don't have any problem.

We are playing in a style that is important to continue. We don't score and give possession to the other team and try to counter-attack.

That is not my philosophy or that this club wants to play. We are a balanced team and an attacking team.

Under Pellegrini, City look well capable of breaking records for the number of goals scored in a season.

The most goals scored in a Premier League season is 103, achieved by Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea in 2009-10. City look capable of beating that, having hit 59 goals in their 21 league games so far. If they keep that rate going for the full 38 matches, they will finish on 106.

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Chelsea also hold the record for the most goals scored by an English team in all competitions when they bagged 147 on their way to Europa League success last season. With City still in four competitions and scoring an average of three goals per game, they could well surpass that figure, too.

Obviously, records such as those are far less important than trophies. But if City can usurp Chelsea in the goal-scoring record books, it would be a fitting tribute to Pellegrini who, from day one at the club, has been committed to playing stylish, attacking football.

It would have been perfectly understandable if after the defeats to Cardiff and Aston Villa earlier in the season he had adopted a new, safer approach, particularly in away games. However, as yet, City have only played one way—attacking from the first minute to the last.

Any doubts about the wisdom of hiring Pellegrini have now surely dissipated after a goal-drenched start to his time in charge.


All stats based on Premier League-era only

All quotes obtained firsthand.

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.