Manchester City have started the new campaign at breakneck speed, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side a wounded animal after finishing without silverware last season. Everton were their latest victims yesterday in a 2-0 win for last season’s runners-up.
After three games of the new season, the Etihad Stadium outfit have scored eight goals, conceded none and have taken their place at the top of the Premier League table.
With defending champions Chelsea one of their victims already, City will take some stopping, with the Manchester side strengthening well in the off-season and looking as dangerous now as at any point in the recent memory.
Everton have had mixed fortunes so far this season but look like a side capable of hurting the opposition, especially if key striker Romelu Lukaku can link-up with supporting cast Ross Barkley and Arouna Koné.
With the Goodison Park fixture in mind, here are five observations from the game.
David Silva is City’s most important player
City may well have top-class players all over the park, with the likes of captain Vincent Kompany, Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero having considerable influence over their fortunes.
However, this season and against Everton, David Silva’s importance to the team has been painstakingly evident, with the diminutive schemer and his unique skill-set an essential part of City’s attacking play.
Stopping the Spain international will be the major challenge for English and European defences this season, with the former Valencia star good enough to be the PFA Player of the Year this term if he continues in his current vein of form.
John Stones is living up to the hype
Whether John Stones is worth in excess of £30 million is an argument for another time, but it clear to see why Chelsea and Manchester United have been repeatedly linked with the former Barnsley man this summer.
Although still learning his trade and having more development to do before he is the complete package, the Everton centre-half is already one of the best young defenders in the English game.
His positional sense, physical dominance and calmness in possession make him a rare talent that seems destined for the game’s pinnacle.
Fernandinho an unsung hero
Although Touré is City’s midfield dynamo, his partner in the boiler room has started to show just how good he is over recent months.
Fernandinho arrived at the Etihad Stadium with a considerable reputation after his performances at Shakhtar Donetsk but has not always convinced the club’s fans that he deserves a place in Pellegrini’s starting XI.
However, this season the Brazilian has been an influential, if understated, member of the City side at both ends of the pitch, with his presence being felt so far in 2015-16.
Nicolás Otamendi arrives, just as Eliaquim Mangala starts to perform
Eliaquim Mangala has had a tough time of it since moving to England from Porto, with the giant Frenchman a physical presence but being guilty of mistakes over his Premier League tenure.
However, it is ironic that just as Pellegrini’s charges splurge on impressive Argentine Nicolás Otamendi, Mangala is arguably playing his best football since signing for the club – as such the Chilean trainer has a key decision to make in regards to team selection moving forward.
Time for Deulofeu to be given a starting role
Tom Cleverley put in an impressive and hard-working shift in the clash against City and must be adjudged as one of the hosts best players in the defeat.
However, shoehorning the former Manchester United midfielder into a wide role offsets the balance of the team, with the England international surely a more natural choice to play centrally.
This would free up a space on the right flank, with it appearing like the perfect time to unleash Catalan prodigy Gerard Deulofeu.