Are Manchester City finally the complete article?

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Whenever the debate over who will win the Premier League title is raised, there is one name that has been on the lips of any football enthusiast for a few years now- Manchester City.

The Citizens have gone from noisy neighbours to a dominating force in England for years to come, but can they take it even further?

Squad shows few weaknesses

It is rarely disputed that, on paper, City have got the best squad in the Premier League. Chelsea have a great squad too - not that you would know from their performances this season, and Manchester United and Liverpool have squads in development.


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Realistically, Arsenal have a well-rounded team to match City and challenge them to the summit of the Premier League, and the title will likely go down to the pair of them, and perhaps an outside chance of Leicester City.

However, if you take a look at City's strongest possible eleven - led by the truly world-class Sergio Aguero, orchestrated by Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva and supported by Vincent Kompany - there are still problems with the squad.

Their full-backs are of a questionable quality and the largest question still looms over who can partner, and eventually replace, Kompany in the centre of defence. Martin Demichelis remains classy but is certainly past his prime, whilst Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala have not reproduced the form shown at their previous clubs.

So, they are the best we have, but still not by any means a complete squad, and it is likely the manager will invest again in the summer.

Champions mentality

There have been times - particularly last season - where City would let their heads drop in important matches and, as a result, lose points.

The prime example of this was at Old Trafford. After scoring early, they completely fell apart and went 4-1 down. Even when Aguero got them back to 4-2, there wasn't any danger of a potential comeback despite ten minutes remaining.

Compare that to the game against Swansea, where they conceded a late, late goal, and it looked like they were going to drop points once again. But they kept fighting, and in Kelechi Iheanacho, they have raw and determined talent, trying to prove that the club can look within for the future.

They got a winner that perhaps they did not deserve and briefly went top of the Premier League table. It is an old cliche, but champions are made by edging the games they probably shouldn't.

However, their inconsistency has let them down. They suffered an awful loss to Stoke, while the result can be accepted, the performance cannot.

Stoke barely broke sweat as they brushed aside the title hopefuls. It does seem they rely too heavily on the spine of the team, and when Silva and Aguero are missing they look short of ideas. But who wouldn't suffer without their best two players? Imagine Barcelona without Neymar and Lionel Messi, or Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale?

Champions League exploits show progress

In the past four seasons, City's Champions League campaigns have been nothing but a series of abject failures. In the Roberto Mancini era, they failed to progress out of the group stage twice.

In came Manuel Pellegrini, who took them into the knockout stages in consecutive years but a tough draw has inhibited their progress.

Now, they have gone further still, topping another tough group ahead of last year's runners-up Juventus, Europa League winners Sevilla and a rejuvenated Borussia Monchengladbach. This, despite a double loss against the Italian outfit, and a series of injuries once again, shows a mettle that has perhaps not yet been seen.

However, there is still a huge room for improvement. Their losses home and away against Juventus suggest they are not yet ready to compete with the big guns of Europe just yet, and they went behind in two of the other four games.

Who would honestly back City if they progressed past the last 16, and were drawn against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Barcelona? There is work to be done yet, and those three teams remain out of reach for most so could be an unfair benchmark.

So, City have made progress, and when you look at where they were even five years ago, they are miles ahead. With seemingly infinite resources, and now the capabilities to attract the world's best, a Manchester club could dominate English football for years to come. It just may not be the Manchester club we are used to seeing.

Manchester City
UEFA Champions League

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