Causes for concern following unconvincing win
1) Another poor display. It was hoped that the performance against Cardiff was a temporary aberration, and that the Blues would put in another impressive home display against Hull City. Many fans, and seemingly some players, assumed that the newly promoted side would be proverbial lambs to the slaughter. The reality, worryingly, turned out somewhat different. City could easily have been 3-0 down within half an hour, and a better side than Hull would have beaten us on Saturday. It was a relief to get the three points, but our last two performances are a definite cause for concern, particularly given the standard of opposition. Much tougher challenges lie ahead.
2) Formation change needed? In the last two games City have been overrun in midfield, and may need to sacrifice an attacking player in order to restore some balance to the line-up. Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, on paper at least, should be a more than adequate partnership, but on Saturday they struggled to dominate the midfield, with Tom Huddlestone particularly impressive for the visitors. With a potentially difficult away trip at Stoke looming, it wouldn't be a surprise to see either James Milner or Jack Rodwell restored to the starting XI at the expense of one of the forwards.
3) Negredo must start. Edin Dzeko merited a place in the starting line-up after an impressive display against Newcastle and a superb strike at Cardiff, but his performance on Saturday was a reminder of the Bosnian's infuriating inconsistency. In his defence, he received little service from midfield but his first touch was heavy as usual, and commitment questionable. Negredo's goal was crucial, and the Spaniard has shown enough in his cameo appearances from the bench to suggest that he should start the next game on merit.
4) Lescott's distribution. The ex-Evertonian has been a good servant to the club, and was arguably as integral a part of the team as Vincent Kompany in the title winning season. However, he looks shorn of confidence of late (not helped by having a different defensive partner in each of the three games so far) and his use of the ball leaves a lot to be desired. On numerous occasions against Hull he ceded possession cheaply and needlessly, and may find himself as fourth choice centre half at the club when everyone is available. With just a year remaining on his contract, and the club seemingly not prepared to offer a new deal, his time at City may be drawing to a close.
5) Reasons to be positive. Despite our poor form, we have taken six points from a possible nine and sit fourth in the table. Pellegrini has a reputation for being tactically astute, so the glaring deficiencies in our recent performances won’t have escaped his attention. Frustratingly, the international break gives him less time to address these issues on the training ground, but hopefully the last two games will serve as a stark wake-up call to both players and management.