The champions of England began their title defence with an away win, which they failed to achieve until mid-October last term, against a Newcastle side many believe have improved markedly after a summer of targeted spending.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City followed up their 2-0 victory at St James’ Park by swatting aside last season’s runners-up Liverpool at the Etihad by three goals to one, with the Merseysiders’ late consolation removing the smallest amount of sheen off an impressive display.
It is therefore puzzling that City, who have claimed the Premier League trophy twice in the last three campaigns, are some way behind 27/20 title favourites Chelsea in the outright top-flight betting at 19/10.
Admittedly, the west London Blues’ summer transfer business was formidable, with the £50m reportedly received from Paris St-Germain for David Luiz covering the cost of new signings Diego Costa and Filipe Luis, while Cesc Fabregas was brought in for little over half the amount raised selling the Brazil international.
Be that is it may, it’s fair to say that coach Jose Mourinho needed a good window merely to catch up with his old La Liga rival Pellegrini, whose side finished four points ahead of the Portuguese’s last term.
The Chilean has hardly been idle during the silly season either, with the capture of sought-after France defender Eliaquim Mangala from Porto taking City’s summer spending beyond the £50m mark.
They’ve also picked up Mangala’s international teammate Bacary Sagna, a veteran of seven Premier League seasons at title rivals Arsenal, as well as getting former Mourinho favourite Frank Lampard on a borrow from New York City, the franchise the Citizens’ owners set up ahead of the next MLS campaign.
However, the most compelling reason to believe Chelsea are oversold for the title, in relation to their north-west counterparts, lies in the sides’ contrasting performances so far this term.
While City have seen off northern powerhouses Newcastle and Liverpool with little trouble, Chelsea had to come from behind to beat Burnley 3-1 in their opening Premier League fixture, before labouring to a 2-0 win over Leicester at home courtesy of a pair of post-hour mark strikes.
It will be interesting to see how Mourinho’s charges get on in their next two top-flight road fixtures – first at Everton and then at City – after failing to stamp their authority over two promoted teams.