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Lake column: Pundits have been put right!

Vincent Kompany celebrates his goal against Chelsea

Vincent Kompany celebrates his goal against Chelsea

In our latest column, midfield legend Paul Lake gives his opinion on City's flying start to the season...

RESPECT!

What I have enjoyed most about the start is the way so many of the pundits and so-called experts were quickly forced to reassess their initial assessment of our title chances this season.

I think some of them have been quite disrespectful of what we’ve achieved and learned over the past three or four years as a football club and to be so dismissive of the threat we pose this season – before a ball was even kicked – was without any foundation whatsoever.

It’s still very early, of course, but a few pundits have been doing a bit of backtracking in the last few days which has made me smile.

The manner in which we’ve applied ourselves against West Brom and Chelsea has been fantastic and we’ve found our rhythm far sooner than I think anyone dared hope.

Raheem Sterling, with so much pressure and expectation on his shoulders, has acquitted himself really well and there’s so much more to come from him.

He seems to be really enjoying himself and that is down to the calibre of the players around him, specifically David Silva.

Every unit – defence, midfield and attack – have worked so well together and we’ve been steadfast at the back, creative in the middle and razor sharp up front. It’s quite exciting to see where we are and to know we still have fantastic players to come in, particularly Pablo Zabaleta. That said, Bacary Sagna has started really well and is looking the dependable player we know he was from his Arsenal days. 

Eliaquim Mangala headed chance

DEFENSIVE SOLIDITY

I’ve also been impressed with Eliaquim Mangala’s form and I think it’s no coincidence that Vincent Kompany is looking back to somewhere near his best.

The captain has been assured and decisive and his two goals from corners have been an added bonus – I know it was something of a running joke that we didn’t score that often from corners so to get two in the opening two games bodes well for this season.

What I’ve also enjoyed is the way he has celebrated his goals. 

The first people he goes to when he scores are the fans – both times he went straight to the City supporters and I think his way of saying thank you to them. He loves scoring goals and he knows what it means to them and I think it’s a measure of the respect he has for our fans and all that pride in wearing our shirt comes out when he scores a goal. It’s wonderful to see.

With Vinnie being back to his best, it has brought along Mangala who has looked strong and confident and he’s finding the form that first brought him to the notice of Europe’s top clubs. 

He now seems comfortable with the price tag that I believe has been a weight around his neck because I think he felt he needed to justify the fee and maybe tried too hard last season. 

Being a good defender first and foremost is the most important thing and he’s been given the time to grow and develop, just as Joleon Lescott was a few years back. He has the support and backing of the City fans, too which will also help him go from strength to strength. 

Aguero

TOFFEES TEST

On to this weekend where we face one of the most difficult tests possible. Everton have also started really well and they are unique in that they counter-attack almost as fast as we do and their key asset is the ability to change defence into attack in a split second.

Our defensive midfield strategy will need to be switched on and focused and it could be that Fernandinho will be our key player this Sunday.

Everton always raise the bar against teams like City, Chelsea, Liverpool, United and Arsenal and at Goodison Park, they will be a formidable opponent.

That said, our form at the moment is that good that we needn’t fear anyone, but I think people will fear us.

Anyone who watched Sergio at the weekend is going to be caught in two minds whether to go tight, drop off or whatever whenever he has ball in the Everton box. 

He is so intelligent and so powerful that he is capable of finding a chink in their armour at some stage and with Silva in such a rich vein of form as well, Everton will do really well to get something out of this game.

We have to match them and be at our best, but if we are, I can’t see anything other than a win.

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