​Manchester City finally ended a poor run of form with an emphatic win over West Brom last weekend that helped them retain their status as Premier League leaders, for another week at least.


The returning Sergio Aguero bagged two excellent goals, whilst summer signing Ilkay Gundogan also grabbed a brace, as Pep Guardiola's men flexed their muscles at the Hawthorns in an impressive attacking display.

Emphasis should be put on the word attacking, as City once again looked frail at the back; something that will concern fans heading into this week's mouthwatering Champions League group match with Barcelona.


The Catalans ruthlessly dismantled City at the Nou Camp only two weeks ago, when Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick in their 4-0 win. With the Citizens now back on home territory, they will need to find an answer for the return match at the Etihad, as their qualification for the knockout phase hangs in the balance. 

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If we have learned anything from that drubbing at the Nou Camp, along with some other results in recent weeks, then we know that Guardiola's team really 'don't like it up em'.


It's one thing scoring four goals against the likes of West Brom, Bournemouth and Stoke like they have this season, but every time a challenge has presented itself to Pep's men this year they have been found wanting. 


Defeat to Tottenham in early October presented a blueprint of how to play and beat City. Hurry the man on the ball and mistakes at the back will create you chances. 


Since then, Everton and Southampton have tried a slightly less aggressive approach but have still had the quality to hurt and deny City when necessary. 

Both have claimed 1-1 draws at the Etihad this season and raised a pressing issue that is backed up by the current stats. Are Manchester City flat-track bullies?


In fact this has been something that has hung over the team since they last won the Premier League back in 2014. Their record against the so called 'big' teams isn't great and nothing epitomises this more than last season.

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Their record against the top eight sides in the league was nothing short of dreadful having won only one match out of a possible 14 games. In the other 13 matches, they slumped to eight defeats and conceded double (30) the amount of goals they scored (15).


To really put that record into perspective, they gained only eight points out of a possible 42.


Indeed there are remarkable similarities between Manchester City's record this season and last year after 10 matches. By late October 2015, Manuel's Pellegrini's side led the way on goal difference over Arsenal with both teams tied on 22 points. 

With only an extra point being the difference this year, it appears we have learned little about Guardiola or his team so far and it rather puts City's thumping win over West Brom into context. 


It was no more impressive than their previous wins this season against the Premier League's lower outfits. Nor is there anything to suggest they are better than the side that led the way this time last year.


City currently have a win, draw and defeat apiece in their three fixtures against one of the league's current top eight sides this season; demonstrating why its hard to tell if Guardiola's team are good enough to win the title this year.

Their first serious run of tough matches this season produced a six match winless run in all competitions - hardly the way to silence those doubts about coming up short against the stronger teams.


December will be the all important month for both City and their critics. Fixtures against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool await during the busy festive period and will give us all a better insight into the club's chances of being successful this year. 

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It's one thing beating the teams in the bottom half of the table, but true title contenders can get the better of their rivals too. 


Until City can prove they have the capability to beat those sides at the top, then it would be too soon to suggest that Guardiola has transformed this team into a title winning side.