One of the reasons why so many Betfair punters have backed Manchester City to win this season’s Premier league was because they got their buying done early, allowing their new signings time to bed into the squad.
Sheikh Mansour’s generosity has once again allowed City to spend big, with £90million splashed out on Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo, Stefan Jovetic, and Jesus Navas before the start of pre-season.
Clearly pleased with his summer shopping, new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, declared prior to the big kick-off that he had the best squad in the country.
Their 4-0 stroll over Newcastle on the opening Monday of the season indeed suggested Pellegrini had already hit on the right formula for success.
But that bubble of optimism was quickly burst at a boisterous Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday, as the newly promoted Bluebirds fought back from a goal down to secure a 3-2 victory in what was their first ever Premier League game at home.
Two of Cardiff’s goals came from corners, while their first looked eminently avoidable from a Manchester City perspective, with sky blue shirts outnumbering their red counterparts in the box.
With Vincent Kompany out for a month and Matija Nastasic still nursing a knock picked up in pre-season, Jolson Lescott and Javi Garcia formed an uneasy, makeshift defensive pairing, not helped by goalkeeper, Joe Hart’s continuing crisis of confidence.
Though it is still early in the season, City will be weary of making a stuttering start and falling behind in the title race too early. Manchester United’s magnificent opening to last campaign, alongside City’s patchy form, ensured the title was all but wrapped up by March.
To that end, boss, Pellegrini, may need to re-enter the transfer market for a central defender in order to patch up his leaky backline. Money, as ever, will not be an issue, so the Chilean should have free reign to pluck the best the transfer market has to offer.
Given the attacking resources he has at his disposal, a solid defence would be the ideal platform on which to build a genuine tilt at the Premier League, though the football betting odds already have City as strong favourites for the title.