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First Team News

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Talking Points: Fernandinho in the form of his life?

City maintained their perfect record after four games following their 2-0 victory over Watford on Saturday afternoon.

It was another game full of intriguing plots and subplots – here are five things we learned…

Fernandinho’s flying start…

Fernandinho’s late goal, a near action replay of his strike against Chelsea, was just the cherry on top of another supreme showing from a man who has started the season in the form of his life.

The Brazilian made five successful tackles out of five, completed 95% of his passes, recovered the ball seven times and created three chances for teammates, helping him to the Man of the Match honours.

His unselfish work has been one of the bedrocks City’s perfect start to the campaign has been built upon but it was fitting that he should grab some of the headlines for himself with the goal that sealed the victory – another astonishing finish across the goalkeeper into the far corner.

All this without a single minute of pre-season action, too!

Spreading the goals around…

At times last season it was written by some journalists that City had become over reliant on the goals of Sergio Aguero but that hasn’t been the case so far this season.

Perhaps as a consequence of the double marking jobs teams are taking out on the Argentine hitman, the goals are being spread around the team.

Aguero is joined by Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri with one goal so far this season, while Fernandinho and Vincent Kompany lead the way with two each.

In 2013/14 when City won the double, we had four players scoring 20+ goals, so it’s encouraging to see this pattern return.

Bucking the trend…

A strange anomaly has been observed in the opening weeks of the Premier League season.

Of the 38 games played so far (at the time of writing), only seven have been won by home sides but happily, City’s form at the Etihad Stadium is bucking this odd trend.

Both Chelsea and Liverpool slipped up at home unexpectedly on Saturday while Manuel Pellegrini’s side managed to break down an obdurate Watford side.

It’s too early to say that any point gaps held now could be decisive in May but perhaps it bodes well for the entertainment factor for the league as a whole that more teams are finding ways to win away from home.

There wasn’t a great deal to play for at the climax of last season’s competition but the early signs are good that we may have another classic Premier League season on our hands this time around.

Pellegrini’s masterstroke…

“I was pleased because last week they asked me that now we are playing 4-2-3-1 we are playing better but we returned to 4-4-2 and won the game!” said Pellegrini after his half-time tactical switch paid dividends.

Sterling scored 90 seconds into the second half to break the Hornets resistance and, in the process, showed that Manuel has a plan B up his sleeve to counteract defence-minded visitors to the Etihad.

He explained: "I think it was important at half-time to make a change, we had a lot of possession but didn’t create many chances, because - especially against Raheem - they had very tight marking.

"I think that making that change with Nasri on the left side, making David [Silva] more free on their left side, where they have less markers, and playing Kun [Aguero] with Raheem is the way that we must try, and especially at the start of the first half when they didn't know what we were going to do.”

Hats off to the Engineer…

Young guns…

Kelechi Iheanacho made his competitive debut as a late substitute and, although he didn’t have much time to influence the game, the experience will have done the Nigerian youngster the power of good.

The 18-year old is clearly fancied by his manager and will hope to feature more in the coming weeks.

He wasn’t the only youngster involved in the matchday squad either – Pablo Maffeo and Patrick Roberts were also named on the bench as reward for their excellent form on the training pitch.

First Team News

Kompany: We expected a difficult game

First Team News

Pellegrini explains half-time tactical switch

Match Report

Blues battle to win over Watford