Date: 28th August 2014 at 8:19am
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Ahead of an eagerly anticipated Champions League draw VMC’s Lorna reflects upon a robust opening to City’s title defence…

Our first season in the reign of Manuel Pellegrini was impressive to say the least and the early signs are that this season is not going to be any different.

It seems as though The Engineer has taken as kindly to the Premier League as he has the English weather! He is simply getting the best out of our boys and you get the feeling that this time around we will not lie down the way we did in our title defence three years ago.

I thought the way we played against Newcastle was brilliant. We set up to totally blank them out of the game and when it came to similar against Liverpool my goodness I was impressed. Yet overall, two games in we know that there is much more to come from this squad and can rest assured that Pellegrini will find it.

The factor that handicapped us the most last season aside of long term injuries was our initial dodgy away form which was rectified rapidly but a first match away to Newcastle was always going to be a little gut wrenching, yet we breezed it and hopefully laid the demons of away error to rest!

Indicative of the improvement on the road is the form of the continually resurgent Joe Hart. He has been solid across the two opening games given that last season he was often derailed. I am not too sure about Willy Caballero yet as I don’t think he fared too well in pre-season. I thought he conceded too many goals came too far out of his comfort zone too often.

Up front, Stevan Jovetic was class pre-season and now the league campaign has started in eranest he appears to be in fine fettle. His brace against Liverpool set us up nicely and also triggered Sergio Aguero to blast home a third goal cameo appearance. Aguero appears to be taking over the role of ‘super sub’ at least until he is 100% fit and I am sure he won’t mind that title for a little while longer.

It is a pity we conceded to Pablo Zabaleta’s own goal yet I thought Hart made a brilliant effort at trying to keep it out.

Going back to Jo-Jo’s pre-season tour of the United States, regardless of whether he scored or not, we saw him repeatedly shine as the stand out City player on the pitch by far and I would suggest he is running into stunning form right now. The one game from that tour that sticks in my mind is the match last month against AC Milan where he crossed to Navas and Jesus performed a little miracle albeit via a deflection and we ended the game 5 – 1!

Pellegrini knew Jovetic would come good for City and Jo-Jo is proving just that. Now we know what he is capable of the City boss will continue to get the best out of him and the best is yet to come…I can feel it. He wants to make up for lost time. Jovetic barely got a look in last season due to injuries taking their toll and his absence saw Alvaro Negredo go on a rampant mission scoring for fun. This time round its Jo-Jo who has taken the reigns while The Beast is out injured.

Pellegrini underlined how the Spanish target man’s extended absence and the long season that lies ahead make Jovetic’s emergence all the more important:

‘We need four strikers. At this moment, Stevan is working very well but you cannot forget about what Negredo did at the beginning of last year. He is also very important but for now, he is injured. During the whole year, we play so many games, we need four strikers. In this moment, Stevan and Edin Dzeko are playing very well and it is important players like Stevan and Fernando, who are 100% fit, continue to play the way they did against Liverpool.’

One player I have noted is not up to his fiery best is YaYa Toure, he seems to be starting the season strolling minus lung busting runs. Is his heart still in the game? Is his heart still in City?, or is he just not up for it for one reason or another? He can’t surely be suffering fatigue as his Ivory Coast team were eliminated early at the World Cup. Time will tell as the season progresses as to what may or may not be ailing YaYa but I do hope he doesn’t take much longer to get a gallop going as the Premier League season waits for no man. His body could still be playing catch up from last season’s power surge. Who knows.

 
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