• Manchester City pulled off a masterstroke in locking manager Manuel Pellegrini down to a new contract at the club
  • The stability offered by Pellegrini is paying dividends this season
  • Across town, Manchester United look unconvincing and boss Louis van Gaal must start delivering after being backed in the transfer market
  • Crystal Palace’s purple patch shows no signs of discolouring following a stunning 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
  • Theo Walcott has stated his desire to continue up front for Arsenal, but his performance against Newcastle was far from the required standard 

Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail

With Kevin De Bruyne joining on Sunday, Manchester City have now spent more than £150million this summer. But their best deal by far has been giving Manuel Pellegrini a new contract.

As a manager, if you are not sure you’re going to be in the job next season, then it can feel like you’re naked in the dressing room. If the players sense it, then you are a dead man walking.

So for City to give Pellegrini a new deal, despite criticism last season and continued speculation about Pep Guardiola, was a brilliant move. Any questions the players had were immediately answered and they could get their heads down and play for Pellegrini.

Manchester City got it right by tying manager Manuel Pellegrini down to a new contract at the club 

Manchester City got it right by tying manager Manuel Pellegrini down to a new contract at the club 

City have completed the £52million signing of winger Kevin De Bruyne  from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg

City have completed the £52million signing of winger Kevin De Bruyne  from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg

Pellegrini's decision to move David Silva (right) against Watford ended up helping to secure a 2-0 victory  

Pellegrini’s decision to move David Silva (right) against Watford ended up helping to secure a 2-0 victory  

City are not the type of club to hire and fire managers on a whim, so this provides continuity. Clubs can be too quick to sack managers these days but Pellegrini deserves his chance.

Last year, people were quick to criticise him when things went wrong but rarely do they praise him when he gets it right. Against Watford, City were going nowhere at 0-0. Pellegrini moved David Silva and brought Raheem Sterling into the centre. Sterling scored and Silva set one up. A subtle change made the difference.

Van Gaal has to show us more

I’m still waiting to see something from Louis van Gaal after a year in charge and more than £200million spent.

There is no system or style about United. You couldn’t name their best XI and that does nothing for the players’ rhythm. 

The defence looks makeshift, the midfield is confused, they are light up front and they lack pace in vital areas. And when you compare Van Gaal’s spending to the top four since last year, United have not got their money’s worth.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been backed heavily in the transfer market since his arrival 

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been backed heavily in the transfer market since his arrival 

United captain Wayne Rooney (right) is struggling for form this season and is yet to score in the league 

United captain Wayne Rooney (right) is struggling for form this season and is yet to score in the league 

Sinclair must prove his worth 

Scott Sinclair has spent the last few seasons in the wilderness. Now he’s starting to do what he’s threatened to do for years. 

Sinclair looked good at Swansea but I always felt he had the ability to do more. I can understand why he moved to Man City — it’s a hard club to turn down and he will have backed himself to succeed. But that didn’t happen and he was sent out on loan. 

People criticised him for his ‘celebrity’ lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about his football. Now he has a permanent home at Aston Villa, he looks settled. He is a real confidence player and he has got off to a flyer. 

He scored a hat-trick in the Capital One Cup and added another two goals against Sunderland. I liked that he stood up to take the penalty as well — clearly he’s confident. Tim Sherwood believes in his talent. Now he needs to go out and make the most of it.

Scott Sinclair (right) is settling into life at Aston Villa and is relishing his more regular first-team role  

Scott Sinclair (right) is settling into life at Aston Villa and is relishing his more regular first-team role  

Palace power on

What a result for Crystal Palace at Chelsea. But in a strange way, I wasn’t surprised. I really like what they have done at that club.

Alan Pardew has come in and kept the steeliness built under Tony Pulis but has added real flair. Now they are a team worth watching.

Players like Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon and Yohan Cabaye can get you on your feet and by the end at Stamford Bridge Palace looked more like Chelsea than Chelsea did.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha (right) has been exciting supporters with his performances this term 

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha (right) has been exciting supporters with his performances this term 

Time for Jose to make a change? 

It will be interesting to see how Chelsea line up after the international break. Will Jose Mourinho go against his principles and open up?

He has to look at his full backs because Branislav Ivanovic has been disappointing. There are rumours he is unhappy about only being offered a one-year extension and teams are targeting him. Something must be up.

Cesar Azpilicueta could replace him and Abdul Baba Rahman is a new attacking option at left back. But if Chelsea go on the offensive, that could expose a frail defence, especially with Nemanja Matic way off the pace.

What must stop is the mud-slinging. It helps nobody.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has not been at his best so far this season and could be dropped 

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has not been at his best so far this season and could be dropped 

Blues manager Jose Mourinho is quick to criticise his underperformers, but is that really helping?

Blues manager Jose Mourinho is quick to criticise his underperformers, but is that really helping?

Bonus for Bilic 

If ever you needed an example of how mad life can be for a Premier League manager, you only need to look at Slaven Bilic’s week.

After losing at home to Bournemouth, his team was booed off. The fans said he didn’t have a clue and they would spend their final year at Upton Park fighting relegation.

A week later they go to Anfield, where West Ham have not won since 1963, and beat Liverpool 3-0. After a win like that Bilic can really enjoy the international break. He’s earned it.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic (right) was handed a timely boost with a 3-0 victory over Liverpool on Saturday 

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic (right) was handed a timely boost with a 3-0 victory over Liverpool on Saturday 

Walcott warning 

Theo Walcott says he wants to play up front but he has to do better to stay there.

Arsenal’s system relies on a striker who can hold up the ball but against Newcastle Walcott struggled. His heat map shows he was barely in the game.

Theo’s best position is out wide, but that doesn’t mean he can’t score goals — look at Neymar and Gareth Bale. He has to adapt and make the most of the chances he gets.

Theo Walcott put in an unconvincing performance up front for Arsenal against Newcastle at St James' Park

Theo Walcott put in an unconvincing performance up front for Arsenal against Newcastle at St James’ Park

Swansea’s hero

Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew are stealing the headlines but Ashley Williams has been outstanding.

He didn’t make his Premier League debut until he was almost 27. Imagine how good he would be if he’d played at this level for longer. He is immense and plenty of clubs would love to have him.

Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis has been enjoying a fine run of early-season form and scored on Saturday

Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis has been enjoying a fine run of early-season form and scored on Saturday

 

 

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