Manuel Pellegrini's reign as Manchester City boss has gone, as some thought it wouldn't do anyway, surprisingly well so far. His team are challenging on all fronts, the fans have taken to him, and there seems to be a real sense of optimism around the club at the moment.
When Pellegrini was appointed manager after title-delivering Roberto Mancini's departure, a few eyebrows were raised. Admittedly, I was surprised myself. This is a man who failed at Real Madrid and has limited experience managing a 'top' side. Adding to that, he's never managed in England and was a relatively unknown quantity to the vast majority of Manchester City fans. Sceptical views were completely understandable.
It's probably fair to say us doubters have been proved horrifically wrong so far.
Pellegrini's Manchester City are playing in a way many felt Mancini's City never did - with style, a lot more width and just generally a more attacking mentality. Their home form has been incredible, averaging four goals at the Etihad this season I believe. Players such as Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov, amongst a few others, are thriving in this positively devastating system. Meanwhile, the usual standout performers such as Aguero, Zabaleta and Yaya Toure are reaching new heights and producing arguably the best season of their careers so far.
Pellegrini, although not fully responsible for all recruitment, has added quality in areas and the transition of most of the new additions has been seamless. Players such as Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas have all played a major part in City's fortunes this season, arguably even more so than many expected they would.
Call me old fashioned, but the way Manuel Pellegrini has handled himself has also been admirable and has undoubtedly adhered him to the City faithful. He's the definition of cool, calm and collected, and in a job that would come with huge pressures and high expectations, he's conducted himself extremely well.
Perhaps the focus has been taken off him slightly with David Moyes' abysmal start as Manchester United manager hitting the headlines, Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool improving, Arsenal challenging for the title again and the return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, but still, Pellegrini is proving his pre-season doubters wrong and taking Manchester City to the next level.
There's still a way to go yet, but Manuel Pellegrini deserves a lot more credit than he's getting. Manager of the season so far? Without a doubt.
By Marcus Williams - Newport County fan