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Manchester City suffered their first league defeat of the season when they were beaten by West Ham at the Etihad last week.

The loss came only a few days after another home defeat to Juventus in the Champions League.

Analysing three major problems for Manchester CityKeeping in mind the way in which they started the season, not many would have anticipated the Citizens to succumb to two consecutive home defeats like this. Manuel Pellegrini will be hopeful that his team can get back to winning ways when they take on Sunderland in the League Cup, a highly winnable match, before they head to White Hart Lane to take on Spurs this weekend.

During the opening handful of Premier League rounds, most of the division’s top teams suffered with form, struggling to getting positive results. But City seemed to somehow evade that, striding emphatically to the top of the table, and playing some brilliant football. So what has gone wrong? We look at some of the reasons that might explain City’s recent stumbling.

David Silva’s injury

Silva started out the season as City’s best player, assisting four goals in their opening four matches. The Spaniard was at the centre of every City attack and made life difficult for some of the league’s best midfielders. His link-up play with Aguero seemed to have continued right on from last season, and the City attacking line-up had been strengthened even more by the additions of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne. But it was not until Silva suffered his first injury that City began to falter.

A narrow and unconvincing away victory at Crystal Palace was the first sign to indicate that City were simply not the same team of previous weeks. The 29-year-old returned to the side against Juventus but failed to make any sort of impression on the game. He was then ruled out through injury just before the start of the West Ham match. De Bruyne has been in fine form, filling the void that the crocked Spaniard has left. But the results are still poor. Is the Silva absence key to Man City’s bad form? It isn’t imprudent to assume so; any team, stripped of a player as talented as Silva, is bound to struggle to create chances.

Aguero’s struggles

Much was expected – namely a bagful of goals – from last season’s golden boot winner, and the Aguero got started in typical fashion. His first start of the season came against the title holders Chelsea and the striker made their defence look rather silly that day. But the former Atletico Madrid forward has been quite shaky since then. A mediocre performance against Everton was followed by the same, a week later against Watford. He was out of the side for the next two fixtures, including the Champions League loss to Juventus.

The 27-year-old’s return to the starting line-up against West Ham ended up as a fairly miserable turn, as the Argentine could not find any way past the Hammers defence. Not only did City lose the game, Aguero also missed a golden opportunity early in the contest, a chance he would have snapped up in his sleep last season.

Champions League demons

Ever since City earned entry into the Champions League a few seasons ago, they have yet to enjoy a good campaign in the competition. The fact that they have never gotten an easy group in any of those seasons doesn’t help but, outside of that, the Sky Blues have clearly struggled when it comes to top-tier European football. While they have qualified for the Champions League for five consecutive seasons now, they have failed to make it out of the group in two of those seasons while their other campaigns didn’t see them advance past the Round of 16 stage. Could the hectic fixture list be hampering the Manchester club’s form?

We won’t know for sure what exactly has gone wrong for City in the past couple of weeks. What is certain is that club have a strong enough squad, as well as a manager with enough experience, to come out of this rough patch and get back to winning ways.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by Rahul Dantes, Twitter: @rahulsdantes
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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