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Manchester City are likely to win the 2015-16 Premier League title

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If titles were won on early-season form then Harry Redknapp would have won one with Tottenham and Juventus would get relegated.

The season is still merely fledgling and there is a lot of football to be played. However, Manchester City have set down an early marker, blowing away all before them, including champions Chelsea. 

While form can suffer and injuries come into play, City look like they mean business and the signs are there that they may be crowned champions for the third time in five years, especially when compared with their main competitors for this season, Chelsea.

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Transfer Policy

Striking similarities can be drawn between Man City's transfer activity of this summer and Chelsea's of last, and vice versa.

Last summer, Chelsea identified areas of weakness in their squad. They needed a world-class striker and bought Diego Costa, and a creative influence and bought Cesc Fabregas. Their transfer activity was wrapped up well before the deadline day. Chelsea became a more complete team as a result and it showed on the pitch, winning all of their four opening games, and with relative ease.

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City, meanwhile, did not strengthen whatsoever, and began to struggle. They finished well off the pace last season, calling for a complete overhaul in the squad. This also lead to the expensive additions in Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony, both of whom failed to make an impact last season.

Contrast that to the beginning of this season, where roles seem to be reversed. City have identified that they need pace in an ageing team and brought in Raheem Sterling. They needed a defensive partner for Kompany, and brought in Nicolas Otamendi and a higher-quality alternative for Jesus Navas, and bought Belgian star Kevin De Bruyne.

They have wrapped up well before the end of the window and results have shown - four wins from four and none conceded.

Chelsea, their main title competitors for the season, failed in their highly-publicised pursuit of John Stones and it feels like they have settled for defensive reinforcements.

Old stars begin performing again

A major problem of City's campaign last season was the failure of several of their star performers to, well, perform. Kompany looked horribly off-form, and questions began to be asked about the age of the spine of the team, including David Silva and Yaya Toure.

There is no such thing this season, with Toure bagging a brace in his opening game and Silva providing several assists as well. The ever-reliable Aguero has also netted once and it will be only a matter of time before the Copa America hangover wears off for him.

Chelsea, on the other hand, are looking like the City of last season. Their usual go-to man, Eden Hazard, is suffering from a lack of form as well, although it is only a matter of time before that picks up. Diego Costa doesn't look as though he has fully shaken off the injury that afflicated him for much of last season.

While Hazard will undoubtedly find his form, the same may not be said of John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic, both of who are fading forces. Ivanovic especially, Chelsea's rock for many seasons, has actually become a target for opposition wingers, ever since he was ruthlessly exposed by Swansea's Jefferson Montero.

Difference in managerial style

Whilst it is without a shadow of a doubt that both managers are remarkable, their styles differ drastically. Last season, Pellegrini came into question for not showing enough passion and not being versatile in the face of different opposition, such as when he opted for two strikers against Barcelona. However, his calm, serene attitude towards games may have an impact on his players, who look more confident and relaxed this season, playing with the freedom that form brings.

While it is perhaps jumping the gun to criticise Mourinho's managerial capability after such success, his style may not have the effect it usually does. The self-proclaimed Special One often likes to create an 'us-against-the-world' siege mentality at the club, creating unity within the camp and aims to prove any doubters wrong. 

However, this season it is different. Mourinho has had several high-profile clashes already, and his very public downgrading of club doctor Eva Carneiro may have put his players on edge. Will they be subjected to the same treatment? The Chelsea team seem to be playing under pressure and don't have the same swagger that they did last season.

The season is still young, but in the past five years or so, generally the team with the strongest performances at the beginning tend to maintain it to the end. Based on this, City may have a very strong claim for the title that they meekly surrendered last season.

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Topics:
Football
Manchester City
Premier League

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