October 19, at West Ham United – Manchester City started the season with one point in its first three road games, sparking myriad speculation as to whether Manuel Pellegrini was having trouble adapting to the Premier League. Just as that theory started to gain momentum, City got two goals from Sergio Aguero at Upton Park, with David Silva adding a third in the Citizens’ 3-1 win. After going 0-1-2 in its first three, City would finish with 34 points away from home. Only Arsenal and Liverpool (35, each) had more.
December 14, vs. Arsenal – Throughout the season, Pellegrini was never shy about going for goals, often leaving Vincent Kompany and Martín Demechlis isolated as City committed players forward. For those doubting whether the approach would hold up, Arsenal’s late-fall visit offered a proof of concept. Five different players would combine for six goals as City downed the Gunners, registering 22 shots while winning, 6-3. The Citizens’ 102 goals would fall one short of the league record.
December 21, at Fulham – If City’s road form wasn’t the first major test of the Pellegrini era, the goalkeeping position was. After Joe Hart’s mistake cost the Citizens a point at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 14, the England number one was benched, with Costel Pantillimon taking over for the next seven games. At Fulham, after City gave up three to Arsenal, Hart was back in the starting XI. City would go on to win their next seven in a row, with Pellegrini having successfully put his goalkeeper on track without sparking lingering controversy.
April 27, Liverpool vs. Chelsea – Stumbles at Anfield and at home to Sunderland gave control of the title race to Liverpool, who had won 11-in-a-row before its visit from Chelsea. Despite the Blues starting a depleted squad, Chelsea used goals from Demba Ba and Willian (and a memorable slip from Steven Gerrard) to take three points from the leaders. City was back in control of its destiny.
May 3, at Everton – Those who forecast another turn in the title race after City regained control were looking at the Citizens’ trip to Goodison. After Ross Barkley’s highlight reel goal put Everton up after 11 minutes, those predictions were set to come true, but thanks to a quick response from Sergio Aguero and two goals from Edin Dzeko, City recovered. The 3-2 win proved the Citizens’ final major hurdle on its way to a second Premier League crown.