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Talking Points: Otamendi, Delph, Mangala, & Kun

LEVELLER: Nicolas Otamendi celebrates the equaliser

LEVELLER: Nicolas Otamendi celebrates the equaliser

Five talking points that emerged from City's 2-1 win over West Ham....

1 General on the march

It’s fair to say Nicolas Otamendi is having his best season yet - in defence and attack.

Against West Ham, he bagged his fourth goal of the season – that’s double the amount he scored in his first two seasons with City and we are only a third of the way through the current campaign.

His equaliser against West Ham was a real poacher’s goal, making sure he was first to Gabriel Jesus’ low cross into the six-yard box before stabbing home from close range.

It showed there is much more to his game than just aerial ability and tackling – Otamendi has a licence to roam (within reason) under Pep’s free-flowing formations and we are seeing why the Argentine was one of La Liga’s most coveted defenders during his time at Valencia.

With 1,256 passes completed, he leads the Premier League passing list by four from team-mate Fernandinho and let’s not forget it was his presence that led to a crucial equaliser against Southampton in midweek, too.

So, while Raheem Sterling has deservedly had plenty of praise in the past few games, Otamendi has also played a big part in maintaining the Blues’ unbeaten run and winning streak.

YEAH: Nicolas Otamendi - overjoyed with his fourth of the season

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2 Delph: A man for all occasions?

Fabian Delph’s season just keeps getting better.

He started as holding midfielder against West Ham and was City’s best player for the opening period before switching to left-back following a tactical reshuffle after the break.

His quick feet on the edge of the Hammers box won a free-kick that Kevin De Bruyne came close to equalising from and his performance deservedly won the City Matchday App star man award.

For a player who has suffered with niggling injuries in seasons gone by, Delph is having a new lease of life this year and is likely to play his way to a World Cup spot at next summer’s championships in Russia on current form.

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3 Mangala moment

Eliaquim Mangala started his first Premier League game of the season against West Ham in what proved to be an unexpectedly difficult afternoon.

Against the powerful Michail Antonio, Mangala held his own and the pair enjoyed a physically demanding 90 minutes.

With Vincent Kompany recently returned from injury and one booking away from a suspension and John Stones injured, Mangala stepped in and competently helped City over the line, despite his lack of first team football.

It can’t be easy to just slot into this well-oiled machine and play the fast passing game that the Blues have nurtured over the past few months, but aside from one late slip against Marko Arnautovic, Mangala hardly put a foot wrong.

 

_Stepped up to the mark

 

4 Sergio to strike again?

Sergio has started six out of the last seven games, scoring two goals from the penalty spot plus his record-breaking effort against Napoli.

Pep Guardiola admitted his striker had found it hard to get back into his rhythm since he injured his ribs - but history shows you that Aguero is not normally out of the goals for long.

Whether he get a few days’ rest ahead of the Manchester derby or the boss uses him against Shakhtar and saves Gabriel Jesus for the derby remains to be seen, but it’s a certainty Sergio will be firing all cylinders again in no time.

RECORD BREAKER: Sergio Aguero

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5 Carry on camping?

West Ham, like Burnley, Southampton, Huddersfield and Feyenoord before them, arrived with the intention of stopping City.

As David Moyes said after the game, he didn’t bring his team to play in a way that suited City – his intention was to leave with something for his club and at worst, ensure his team weren’t pummelled.

That’s understandable, but makes for frustrating viewing for the Blues’ fans.

It’s likely only the teams who feel they can beat City will play a more open style – Liverpool, United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs spring to mind – and a few who are prepared to really have a go such as Leicester City and Bournemouth.

Watford and Stoke both paid the price with heavy defeats so by taking on City, you do so at your own peril.

The fact is, 10 men behind the ball is hard to break down and it will happen many more times this season as opposition managers plot our downfall…

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De Bruyne hails squad character

SPIRIT: Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho celebrate in Naples.

Kevin De Bruyne believes the character in the Manchester City squad has been key to establishing a 20-match winning run.

Midfielder credits squad belief for several late victories against defensively minded teams.

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