Manchester City's eventful 2012/13 campaign was fraught with controversy and considerable difficulty. Following the euphoria that accompanied their dramatic maiden Premier League triumph on the final day of the previous season, Roberto Mancini's charges were unable to offer a stern defence of their domestic crown and could only watch on helplessly as their fierce rivals reclaimed the title at a canter.
This meek failure to retain the top-flight trophy was accompanied by a second consecutive Champions League group stage exit and an embarrassing FA Cup final defeat at the hands of relegated Wigan Athletic. As their form dramatically tailed away, considerable rifts within the dressing room began to appear as many players expressed their unhappiness at Mancini's strict and unforgiving management style.
Such evident disharmony eventually cost the Italian his job as he was sacked just a year after bringing unbridled joy. Despite Mancini enjoying immense popularity with the club's supporters, the move to dismiss the outspoken 48-year-old and replace him with the composed figure of Manuel Pellegrini should go a long way to ensuring City are able to taste Premier League glory once again.
The vastly experienced Pellegrini is a remarkably cool customer whose ability to galvanise individuals should stand him in excellent stead and should set him apart from Mancini. Although he has never managed in the English top-flight prior to this season, the 59-year-old Chilean is certainly no stranger to the pressures that come with managing such a high-profile club.
His one season in charge of the circus sideshow otherwise known as Real Madrid, in which the club accumulated a record points haul yet still finished second to Catalan giants Barcelona, should surely ensure that he is not at all fazed by the inevitable challenges that will face him this season. His experience in the Champions League, including guiding unfancied La Liga duo Villarreal and Malaga to the latter stages, should also ensure City are able to make a far bigger impact on Europe's most elite club competition.
Pellegrini, however, was not the only arrival at the Etihad Stadium this summer. The club re-asserted their financial dominance with a number of excellent but costly signings, including the likes of Montenegrin starlet Stevan Jovetic, formerly of Fiorentina, formidable Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo and tricky winger Jesus Navas.
In those aforementioned three, Pellegrini has added great talent to a threatening attacking unit and in Fernandinho, City now possess one of Europe's most coveted midfield talents. Perhaps the only question mark hanging over City concerns their defence, which has looked admittedly shaky in the absence of talismanic captain Vincent Kompany of late.
The addition of experienced Argentine international Martin Demichelis should go some way to solving this problematic equation, however, and Matija Nastasic's return to fitness will also be extremely welcome following his excellent debut campaign in Manchester.
First-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart has also come under persistent pressure recently as a result of a series of high-profile errors, but the England man has enough experience and self-belief to revive his fortunes in the immediate future.
Providing the dressing room manage to sustain their new-found sense of harmony, with Pellegrini at the helm and a raft of impressive new signings complementing an impressively strong squad, Manchester City will win the Premier League this season.
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