It is difficult to read anything concrete into a league table after just four games, but the opening month of the 2015/2016 Premier League season has certainly been dominated by the resurgence of Manchester City under Pep Guardiola. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager appears to have adapted to English football like a duck to water, shrugging off suggestions that he would be in for a rude awakening at the Etihad Stadium.
Their superb first half performance in the recent Manchester derby at Old Trafford perfectly illustrates the significant impact that Guardiola has made at Manchester City, with a number of tactical changes producing a team that appear much more dynamic and dangerous than the one that never came close to challenging for the title. The title favourites with Betway have certainly made an ominous start to the season, and although there is still a long way to go, Manchester City will claim that their 100% record makes them the team to beat.
It should be remembered that Manchester City made a similar start to the previous campaign, with Manuel Pellegrini overseeing a run of five straight wins without conceding a single goal. Back-to-back defeats against West Ham and Tottenham ended any talk of the Citizens going an entire season unbeaten, but winning eight of their opening twelve fixtures was still enough to put Manchester City in a strong position. However, it soon diminished as a number of key injuries, particularly captain Vincent Kompany who was sidelined for the majority of the season, and a lack of consistency not only resulted in City finishing fifteen points behind surprise champions Leicester, but also saw the club announce Guardiola’s summer arrival as early as January. Some would argue that this was a contributing factor towards Manchester City’s downfall, as not only did many feel that Pellegrini was undermined in his position, but the team’s form took a major dip as news of the agreement with Guardiola created a big distraction.
Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain’s pursuit of one of the best managers in world football may not have been universally approved, but it has reaped instant dividends on and off the pitch. Subtle changes, such as training times, sleeping arrangements and ensuring the players eat together, are just part and parcel of Guardiola’s plan to get the very best from his team, and although Manchester City remain a work in progress, there has already been a significant improvement on the pitch. It is an ominous sign when the manager himself has stated that his team must improve if they are to win the Premier League and Champions League, particularly considering the manner in which they swept aside their city rivals, Stoke and Steaua Bucharest in their own backyard.
Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Friday stands out as the big match to bet on this weekend with Betway, but Manchester City are certainly worth watching in their current form. They will fancy their chances of making it five wins from five as Bournemouth travel to the Etihad Stadium, particularly with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in supreme form. Both players have been nothing short of superb in the opening month of the season, with De Bruyne in particularly standing out as a class act who has the talent and potential to become one of the best players in the Premier League. He, along with many others, are thriving under Guardiola, with John Stones looking more composed and able to make the right decisions, while Raheem Sterling has transformed into the player that shot to prominence with Liverpool.
It is scary to think that Manchester City may find an extra gear or two as they continue to develop under Guardiola’s management, and although Chelsea and Manchester United have also made impressive starts to the season after making managerial changes of their own, it will take something special to stop Manchester City in full flow.