The challenge for City

“It can creep up on you when you don’t even realise. One moment, you are cracking open the champagne and celebrating a historic title. Six months later you’re still talking about that same memorable victory, watching the repeats of Sergio Agüero’s goal, while the game is moving on, your rivals have stolen a march on you and that crown has slipped before you’ve had enough time to wear it.

It is clearly too soon to suggest Manchester City will not repeat their success of last season, but the warnings have been evident in their first two games. Against Southampton they battled back to win, and they were fortunate to leave Anfield with a point yesterday, thankful for a couple of defensive mistakes.

I’m staggered a manager who won the title by playing with a consistent, flat back four has now opted to go for three at the back, with one of those – Pablo Zabaleta – not even a recognised centre half. City ought to have targeted escaping from the traps swiftly to push ahead of Manchester United. Instead, they’ve scrapped away to a win and a draw.

Mancini has been sending out the message loud and clear for months that he’s not happy with the squad. Whether reports of disharmony within the club over transfer policy are accurate or not, there is usually no smoke without fire and if there is no unity you are already handing your opponents an advantage.”

Do Manchester City have what it takes to successfully defend their title? Will Mancini be able to make further additions to his squad before the window shuts? Ex-Liverpool player & football pundit Alan Hansen shares his thoughts here.

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