There was an air of class about Manchester City on Monday as Manuel Pellegrini's side cruised to a 4-0 win over Newcastle United, but should European success be the priority this season?
When Sergio Aguero scored that famous injury-time winner to snatch the Premier League title from Manchester United at the end of the 2011/12 season, it seemed City had arrived with the big boys.
What followed that success was a dismal title challenge compounded by one of the biggest FA Cup final upsets of all time at the hands of Wigan. However, the real signs of City's inferiority came in their failure to claim Europa League football after finishing bottom of their Champions League group.
Many felt they could be forgiven having been placed in 'the group of death' alongside eventual semi-finalists Real Madrid and finalists Borussia Dortmund as well as Eredivisie champions Ajax.
However, this tough group was a result of poor performances in the previous season's group stage, where City were grouped alongside eventual finalists Bayern Munich as well as Napoli and Villarreal. In that season, City picked up nine points after beating Villarreal twice but a final match day win at home to Bayern proved pointless as they were eventually eliminated.
Last season, City picked up just three points from a possible 18 in the group stage, winning none of their matches and finishing last.
This season has to be the one when City begin to challenge Europe's elite. It's unlikely but still possible that their group will be as tough as last season, but the Champions League is a tournament where the best take their chances and make their own luck.
With a young Chelsea squad growing under Jose Mourinho and David Moyes getting to grips with his new team across the city, it would seem Pellegrini's boys should be favourites to win the title. This, however, is surely not enough?
There is no need to name the talent that City possess. The squad is filled with players all able to compete against Europe's elite. An example of this was when City twice led Real Madrid but then capitulated and lost 3-2 in the first group game of last season. That was a match that revealed more unrest within the City camp.
The club have since dispensed with Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez, two players who made the life of Roberto Mancini difficult to say the least.
With a new and respected manger in Pellegrini as well as over £90 million worth of new talent, this has to be the year that the blue half of Manchester begins to compete among Europe's elite for Champions League glory.
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