Manuel Pellegrini faces problems at Manchester City

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Manuel Pellegrini started brightly as Manchester City manager.

A one-sided 4-0 victory against Newcastle would have excited the City faithful only to be followed by a disappointing 3-2 defeat to newly-promoted Cardiff.

Since then, the rest of the season has followed a similar pattern and Pellegrini may have to act in January to fix his side's inconsistency.

Starting from the back, one thing Pellegrini will need to do is sort out the problems in the goalkeeping department.

Joe Hart has had his issues this season having already amassed a catalogue of errors. The next two months are vital for Hart's career.

Goalkeepers need character, sometimes more so than ability. They can't be scared to make mistakes and when they do, they require the determination and thick skin to recover form.

This is the period when Hart will show everybody what he is made of - it is make or break.

Hart can still easily earn his right to be labelled as a world-class stopper, however, he will have to do try and get back into the starting line-up as quick as possible to prove himself.

There have, however, been whispers that City's Chilean boss might be looking to bring in a 'keeper to replace Hart and if that's the case maybe Hart is putting in dismal performances on the training ground as well as in the matches.

If that's the case, then Pellegrini will have no choice to invest in a new keeper.

The Citizens have conceded 12 goals in the first 11 Premier League games this season with ten of those coming away from home.

Such defensive frailties will have Pellegrini concerned and he may well be looking to invest in defensive options.

Vincent Kompany has been such an integral part of City's side over the last three season and has missed a lot of this season through injury.

Javi Garcia, a natural midfielder, has been used to fill in at times at centre-back and hasn't looked that comfortable.

Nastasic and Kompany look like Pellegrini's first-choice pair but with Joleon Lescott reported to be on his way out, he will surely look at defensive reinforcements.

Martin Demichelis was brought in to strengthen the Chilean's options but if Pellegrini is planning for the long-term he will be after a new centre-back in January.

If there was anything that City's defeats away from home have highlighted though, it's the fact that their back line lacks organisation when Kompany is absent.

However, this organisation could again be down to Joe Hart.

It's possible that the former Shrewsbury goalkeeper's lack of confidence and poor form has had a knock-on affect on the City defence.

Defenders need to know they have somebody capable between the posts and somebody who has the confidence to orchestrate the defence from behind.

Hart has been a shadow of the keeper he was a couple of seasons ago and the impact his performances are having on the team on a whole may force Pellegrini's hand to bring in a replacement.

Midfield options are certainly not short at the Etihad. The City manager had an array of midfield options to choose from and he added more midfield options when he arrived at the club.

Yaya Toure has been displaying the sort of dynamic midfield performances that Premier League fans have become accustomed to. Toure has almost been ever-present this season, often partnered by Fernandinho.

The Brazilian was brought in during the summer to increase creativity in City's engine room. Fernandinho has shown glimpses of quality but not enough consistency.

Jesus Navas is another summer recruit who is very much in the same position as he has terrorised defences and linked-up well with Pablo Zabaleta on occasions but has disappeared when City are under pressure in games.

Samir Nasri, Navas, James Milner and Garcia have been in and out of the side with only David Silva, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho almost guaranteed starts when fully-fit.

Something that has been quite a surprise this season at the Etihad this campaign is the small role that has been given to big-money signing, Stevan Jovetic. A talented individual, the Montenegrin can play out wide, in the hole behind or the striker or can even lead the front line.

Jovetic would have expected to feature more so far this season. People did not expect him to be playing a bit-part role but an injury at the start of his City career would not have helped him settle in the City side.

Maybe when Pellegrini has a fully-fit side, he will be able to pick his favoured four midfielders and we may start seeing more assured performances in City's midfield.

Pellegrini certainly shouldn't be worried about his strike options. Aguero and Negredo seem to have dove-tailed perfectly and have shown the type of link-up play that will have Premier League defences quivering with fear.

Aguero's movement, paired with Negredo's hold-up play make the Spanish-speaking duo look like a match made in heaven.

The only reason he may need to make changes is if Edin Dzeko demands a move in January. The Bosnian target man is reportedly growing frustrated at City with a lack of firs-team football and if he requests to leave, the Chilean will have to delve into the transfer market.

There is no chance the Citizens would be able to sustain a title charge and mount a successful Champions League campaign with only two strikers.

On reflection, City's January is very much going to depend on Joe Hart's performances between now and then, after all, the goalkeeper is the foundation of the team.

The lack of organisation in defence could easily blamed on England's number one aswell as several goals which have been purely his fault. A signing at centre-back may help in the long-run and could provide as cover for any injuries.

The strikers are looking good and Pellegrini won't have to invest in January unless Dzeko demands to leave. If Hart can sort himself out, if he actually is world class he will bounce back, the midfield will be the key for Pellegrini.

With a blossoming strike partnership in Aguero and Negredo, the quality of service and penetration from midfield will be vital. Once the Chilean has settled on his favoured midfield duo and wide players and as soon as the likes of Fernandinho and Navas settle into the rhythm of the Premier League we will see a different Manchester City.

Some continuity in midfield, and throughout the entire side, will allow consistency to flow into City's performances and help them to mount a serious title challenge.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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