2013/14 Season Preview: Can City begin the Pellegrini era with a title?

Last season’s position: 2nd (W23 D9 L6 F66 A34)

Key Man: David Silva

Predicted position: 2nd

After the hangover of the 2011-12 season, last campaign proved to be largely disappointing for the blue half of Manchester, as City surrendered their league crown to their cross-town rivals, before suffering a shocking defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup final.

Failure to retain the Premier League title, coupled with disappointment on the European stage spelt the end for Roberto Mancini, whose final days at Manchester City were marred by rumours of internal conflicts between him and some of his players.

The feeling that City had progressed as fair as they could under the Italian’s guidance prompted the board to replace him with former Villareal and Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose appointment wasn’t met with widespread approval by City fans.

The Chilean might not have won a major trophy in his career, but has been busy in the early stages of his City career, with four new players arriving the Etihad, as Pellegrini looks to get his tenure off to a flying start.

In customary fashion, City have spent big so far this summer but while Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas are excellent players, they’re not the household names City fans had grown used to over the last couple of seasons.

Having said that, Pellegrini has moved with admirable swiftness in the transfer window and his four purchases are likely to add a different dimension to a team that has lost Carlos Tevez earlier this summer.

Negredo, a £20m purchase from Sevilla, should add some much needed firepower up-front where, after the departures of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, City could only count on Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

City scored the fewest of the top four clubs last season and failure to convert draws into wins cost them a lot of points, while at times they seemed over reliant on the brilliant David Silva to unlock defences.

The classy Spaniard will be again City’s main man this season, but Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic promise to be exciting additions to the Blues’ engine room.

The former, a £30m purchase from Shakthar Donetsk, is the sort of box-to-box midfielder City needed to take some pressure off the outstanding Yaya Toure, while the latter, signed from Fiorentina for £22m, can play as attacking midfielder and as second striker.

The Montenegro international enjoyed an excellent season is Serie A last season and while many considered him to be overpriced at £22m, Jovetic could prove to be one of the signing of the season.

Jesus Navas arrived from Sevilla for £16m and his speed and ability to beat the man will provide City with a different dimension going forward, although much will depend on how Pellegrini decides to deploy his team.

City’s defence was the league meanest last season, conceding only 34 goals in 38 games, but with Matija Nastasic set to miss out at least the first month of the season with an injury he picked up during pre-season, Pellegrini has been trying to secure Pepe from Real Madrid.

Spending £20m on a player that turned 30 in February could be a rather risky option, but if there’s an area where City look slightly short of options, then the back-four is that department.

Pellegrini came within a whisker reaching the Champions League semi-final last season and was a missed penalty away from the final in Paris in 2006 and City fans will be hoping the Chilean can bring their team to the next level in Europe.

For all the money they’ve spent since Sheikh Mansour took over the club, City have struggled in Europe and while the Premier League remains the main target, Pellegrini will be very much judged on the basis of City’s performances in Europe.

Will Pellegrini bring the harmony City seemed to lack during the last stages of Mancini’s reign? Can they reclaim the title at the first time of asking? Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter

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