Last season, Manchester City had it all figured out.
They had the players, the fans, the stadium, and more importantly, the dazzling form. Although winning the title on goal difference, they always looked like the best team in England.
This season, it has not been so simple, and they have found themselves fighting for second place, 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester United and 5 points above 3rd placed Tottenham.
So what has gone wrong?
Loss of form
Manchester City built their title assault last season on an array of attacking talent that included some of the sharpest and most intelligent forward thinking players on the planet.
Sergio Aguero was scoring for fun, David Silva was unplayable and Yaya Toure had opposing managers focusing all their energy on figuring out how to stop the dynamic midfielder.
This season they have made the opposing team's job much easier, with Aguero and Edin Dzeko wasting valuable opportunities to snatch three points and Silva, Nasri and Yaya Toure not getting into the rhythm to break down Premier League defences.
The forwards stop making the runs, forcing the midfielders to push further up, thus stopping players like Toure making powerful runs in fear of leaving the defence wide open. It's the killer chain reaction.
No faith in Roberto Mancini
Mancini was lauded when he guided Manchester City to the Premier League title last-season, but doubts about his job security has affected the club and disrupted the mind-set of the dressing room.
It comes with the package of course when a club does possess mega-rich owners such as Sheikh Mansour. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have been frequently mentioned from the moment rumours about their positions at their clubs surfaced in the off-season.
The introduction of a director of football in the shape of Tixi Bergstein did nothing to help the situation.
The result can't be positive for the City players and indeed for Roberto Mancini, with both coach and team doubting what may lie ahead for the club past the next fixture.
A lack of strength in depth
As Manchester United have proved this season, the key to success lies in the squad, rather than just the starting XI. As injuries and suspensions piled up for Manchester City this season, it has proved to be too much, with key players such as Vincent Kompany being replaced by players such as the Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure who simply are not up to the standard of defending the domestic title.
Rather surprisingly, little investment was done to improve the squad in the summer and with Jack Rodwell injury prone and Maicon doing little to add to his successful time at Inter Milan, it seems the quality past the first team was over estimated by both Roberto Mancini and the Manchester City board.
There is still time to salvage their season, with the semi-final of the FA Cup against either Chelsea or Manchester United, and as City know all too well, the league isn't over until the last second in May.
They could still grab themselves some silverware this season in the form of a domestic cup, but this can only happen if they revert to the disciplined belief from last season's success.
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