Despite sitting at the top of the Premier League Table Manchester City, as Pep Giardiola has already intimated, can improve and, as their recent performance against Tottenham Hotspur suggests, they can improve quite a lot.

Kevin De Bruyne has, in a remarkably short space of time, become almost indispensable to the team. City win far more games when he is playing than when he isn’t meaning that, although they have a deep squad, the strength is not necessarily there yet and their dependence upon one player is worrying for the fans.

The concern used to be the amount of goals conceded and games lost when Vincent Kompany was injured. This problem seems to have been solved by buying John Stones and attempting to keep possession of the ball for much longer periods of the game.

There was also a worry that, when Sergio Agüero was missing, the amount of goals scored decreased along with the number of points collected. This also seems to have been solved with the resurgence of Raheem Sterling, the assists and goals from De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho chipping in with a few as well.

Against Tottenham though, City were outfought and outplayed, an unusual scenario for them and something they are not used to. The last time it happened was last season against Leicester City at the Etihad and by this time Manuel Pellegrini had already announced his departure date and the players appeared to have lost interest.

The difference between the two managers is that Pep Guradiola will not let it happen again if he can avoid it whereas, with Pellegrini, the impression was that City were always capable of a poor performance, even though they didn’t produce many.

So improvement is required and will happen. City should still win the title this season even though Liverpool and Tottenham are looking a lot stronger than was thought initially.

José Mourinho has had a mixed start. He inherited a team consisting of players who were, generally, not as good as those at the Etihad. Some wise purchases have redressed the balance somewhat but City still have the edge.

The Wayne Rooney problem has been temporarily solved but won’t completely disappear until Mourinho accepts a fact that van Gaal and Moyes couldn’t, which is that he is long past his best and that it would be far better for all concerned if he were to move on…….anywhere……please.

Of the players brought in by Moyes, the only one still surrounded by doubt is Marouane Fellaini who, although having played some decent games, is still not regarded as a true United player and will never be universally accepted by the fans.

Van Gaal’s additions were many and Darmian, Depay, Schweinsteiger and, possibly, Schneiderlin don’t appear to fit in with Mourinho’s way of thinking. Add to this the abject performances of the likes of Lingard and Rojo and, despite the squad size, there are still one or two problem positions.

If, as predicted, City win the league, then United need to finish second if at all possible. Without any further additions they would be relying on other teams to suffer a loss of form or a sudden change of manager. These are things which have to be regarded as unlikely to happen and cannot, therefore, be relied upon.

The January transfer window could be quite important for United as they look to bolster their defence and possibly add another holding midfielder to the ranks.

If they have any designs on a top four finish then strengthening the squad is a necessity, not a luxury.

  1. RedMe says:

    We haven’t seen anything from Mkhitaryan yet. That would be a good option so we don’t need to suffer the clumsiness of Jessie Lingard.


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