In the mid-week round of Capital One Cup fixtures, Manchester City’s strength looked to send a quadruple-laced warning sign to the rest of the Premier League, in a 7-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday.
Having negated the customary rotation of his squad for the competition, Manuel Pellegrini seemingly sought to send a message that his stock of players are of a high enough quality that they can challenge on all fronts.
Perhaps that was an error though, as the defending champions travelled to Hull in the top-flight and struggled to outmuscle the Tigers until now-regular saviour Edin Dzeko delivered the killer blow in what became a slightly flattering 4-2 score line.
The three points were much needed though as City, who are 12/5 to defend the crown they won last season, are already five points behind Chelsea, who eased to another victory.
Jose Mourinho’s 4/7 title favourites also won in the Capital One Cup without significantly weakening their side, but showed no ill-effects as they struck three past Aston Villa and were emphatic in collecting their fifth win in six matches.
Last term the Special One’s title challenge fell flat in his team’s inability to beat some lesser sides. That looks to be an affliction that’s resoundingly cured this time around though, with Diego Costa plundering goals in customary fashion.
The Brazilian notched his eighth strike in six top-flight matches and, providing he stays fit, is likely to play a similarly vital role to the one Robin van Persie performed in Manchester United’s title capture two seasons ago.
Having shared the points with City already this season, all things look to be pointing to a Stamford Bridge celebration come May even at this early stage of proceedings.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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