Parts 1-3 in this series can be found here but we keep moving along and today we ask "Where must City improve in 2014/15?"
A J Howard: City's addressed depth problems, brought in a solid defensive midfielder in Fernando, and added Mangala to the back line, so in theory they've done what was needed to attend to the squad's major issues from last season. To retain the PL title, though, they'll obviously need to maintain consistency over the long season, something that should come far easier in year two with Pellegrini. Fitness will also play an even larger role than usual in the post-World Cup season, and hopefully squad rotation will be managed closely.
We've all mentioned the added stability Fernando brings to the midfield, and that in itself could be vital in difficult Champions League games. Luck of the draw will always go a long way toward determining how they'll finish in Europe, but because of the specific additions, I feel far better about City's chances in this season's Champions League than I did twelve months prior.
sonics097: I think we've plugged all the holes for the Premier League. At this point, it's dependent on individuals not letting us down with poor play. Don't know what else Pellegrini or Txiki could do. On the European front, Mangala was what City sorely missed last season. He's got European experience, he's fast, he's strong, etc etc we've heard it all by now. He'll be crucial. Aside from him, I would have preferred a more refined LB who can go both ways efficiently, but the Kolarov-Clichy duet is too hard to break up without an obvious candidate to come in.
Neither has really done anything to be sold either; it'd just be a matter of upgrading at the position. It's really hard to say that any other areas could do with significant strengthening for Europe. Time will tell. Here's to hoping the draw gives doesn't give us Bayern/Barca/Madrid in knockout round #1.
KhokanDATTA: Even a Champion team has areas to improve & so can City. Improving on injury record: We have a strong depth this time, but take out any of Kompany, Silva & Aguero and we will miss them in 6-7 games out of 10. Pellegrini not rushing Aguero back & extending his rehab time is heartening to see.
Consistency from No. 9's: Having a ST (Dzeko) who misses 3 good chances before scoring fourth and a ST (Negredo) who just drops his form for 4-5 months is just not good enough for City. Pellegrini needs to drive consistency among his No 9's, else a double whammy of Dzeko missing sitters after sitters and off-form Negredo on bench at same time, will be too much to cope with.
Improving on big game mindset in CL: We need to stop playing like a small club against big teams in Europe, because we are not. Again & again, we act like deer caught in headlights (one Bayern game is not enuogh proof) and take so much time to soak in the occasion that its already too late.
Harkiano: I think the biggest danger is the complacency that set in last time we won the title and that the players brought into the squad - Mangala aside - will not automatically strengthen the starting 11. That said, we suffered injuries to key players last season and if the spine of Aguero, VK, Toure and Silva can stay fit then we'll be better off than last year. Improvements were significant last time round in the Champions League and if the draw is favourable and City can develop.more as a unit, especially defensively, then we should be looking at a quarter final berth. The ability to be tactically flexible will also be key, with Fernando offering the option of a 5 man midfield, something Pellegrini utilised infrequently last season but with success when done so.
Zac MacPhee: Defensively (and in the physio room); whoever Pellegrini pairs with Kompany in central defence (hard to see past that being Demichelis against Newcastle) will be expected to excel. This is a side that very nearly cost themselves with early defensive blunders last year. That can't happen again if City are to repeat as champions. As for injuries, Pellegrini's cautious approach to Aguero's hamstring might be just what the doctor ordered. If he can stay fit, there's little doubt that he'll prove a pivotal figure in the title.
Suffering Bruin: Stay healthy, trust the manager, avoid some of the gaffes that plagued us last season and I really like our chances.