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January holds the key to Manchester City’s season

Aguero was nearly at his best for Manchester City. Photograph: Alex Morton/Reuters
Aguero was nearly at his best for Manchester City. Photograph: Alex Morton/Reuters
Aguero was nearly at his best for Manchester City. Photo courtesy: Alex Morton/Reuters

In what can only be called a stroll in the park, Manchester City walked all over Norwich City to register a 3-0 FA Cup thumping at Carrow Road to progress to the fourth round.

A vastly improved City, boosted in part by the return to form of Sergio Aguero, had wrested control of and closed the game in the first half, scoring 2 goals. The second half was all about seeing the game out, and the Manchester team were helped by a skillful Kevin de Bruyne goal, and a completely lacklustre and abject performance by the home team.

In fact, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini would be forgiven for thinking ahead to future fixtures as his wards played on auto-pilot for the best part of 90 minutes.

City play three Premier League games and a Capital One Cup semi-final in the next 16 days. Premier League home games against Everton and Crystal Palace this week will be followed by a trip to West Ham. Then comes the semi-final against Everton at the Etihad on January 27.

So, Pellegrini feels this run of games will be crucial to determining where his team end up on the table come the end of the season.

“We have two teams ahead of us, so it’s the moment to try to reduce that gap,” said Pellegrini. “In February you start again the Champions League and continue the FA Cup, maybe final of Capital One – so I think this month will be key.”

The man who places so much importance on this month, will be happy that his main man, Aguero, is regaining his striking form after a lengthy spell on the sidelines thanks to injury.

The striker displayed he has still has the desire and skill to produce goals from nothing, as he surged past four defenders and poked the ball past the Norwich goalkeeper. Aguero has now scored 11 goals from 13 League appearances. And to further cement his return, he set up the other revelation for City this season, the teenaged Kelechi Iheanacho.

Iheanacho, who slotted the ball home with a first-time side-footed effort with the calmness of a seasoned goalscorer, justified the faith his manager has shown in him. The youngster now has 5 goals from around 360 minutes of playing time for Manchester City.

“We had a lot of criticism when we didn’t replace Álvaro Negredo but I think when you have a young player that has the condition that Kelechi has he deserves the option.”

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