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24/09/2015 14:36 BST | Updated 24/09/2016 06:12 BST

Pellegrini's Latest Shortcoming: the Dumfounding Trust in Jesus Navas

​For all the millions spent and all the talent at their disposal, the strength in depth and the attacking prowess they possess, it hasn't taken too long for the early-season 'Premier League champions' to be brought back down to earth.

Manchester City won their first five Premier League matches. Eleven goals scored, zero conceded. There's no getting away from the fact that they've actually been pretty damn good

Their showing at Everton was generally superb, and they'd destroyed the below-par defending champions Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium a week prior. City had played some excellent football in the process; displaying the quality we'd expect this side to produce at their pomp.

Though despite slashing odds from bookmakers and declarations in some quarters that this title race was over even before fixture six, this wasn't - and still isn't - the time for outlandish predictions. It was incorrect to suggest Chelsea's mission to defend their crown was already finished, and by no means had City already earned the title of 'champions elect'.

We have a habit of doing that over here; making bold predictions and getting ahead of ourselves without the sufficient evidence. And everything we've come to know this season went into a state of reverse at the weekend, as Chelsea predictably (yet distastefully) overcame Arsenal.

And Slaven Bilic's trend-bucking West Ham United served us a reminder on Saturday that the Premier League is now as even a playing field as most divisions in Europe. Yes, it's because of the borderline-insane television money being pumped into the Premier League and since clubs outside the big four-to-six are able to attract Champions League-quality players from other leagues.

The Hammers are a classic recent example of a club in that mould. Boasting the top-class Dimitri Payet and a number of other summer acquisitions, they went to the home of the league leaders and came away with three points. They relied on some elements of luck, a brilliant defence and a sensational goalkeeping performance from Adrian, but this win was no fluke.

Bilic has put this victory, along with the recent successes at Liverpool and Arsenal, down to fighting spirit. And he's not wrong. It's evident. West Ham actually earned a strut into a "pub full of girls" with their showing; and not just the metaphorical feeling that came with the three points.

While the Hammers move from strength-to-strength, by no means is this too damaging for Manchester City. Ahead of this weekend's game at Tottenham, they still sit two points ahead of rivals Manchester United and keep in mind there's actually 32 Premier League games left to play. It's a heck of a long time, isn't it?

Chelsea will return stronger, Arsene will put together their annual run of form that gives them hope for next year and United have enough quality to threaten a title charge. A lot can change in eight months.

Though on lengthy observation, some things will not.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini will be at fault if City's challenge falters this year, as even his usually-tactically-naive self shouldn't fail to mount a serious title tilt with the talent pool he has to choose from. But even through their recent purple patch, the Chilean has continually made one poor decision; to continue giving chances to the mind-numbingly frustrating Jesus Navas.

He's had his opportunities. He's won his trophies - he's even a World Cup and Euro 2012 winner with Spain - but it'd come as no surprise to learn that the former Sevilla man could be in some way related to Pellegrini; such is his insistence on selecting him.

Pellegrini's shortcomings are able to be covered by the qualities of his side, but the fact that he's so readily willing to throw in the sub-standard right-winger is a huge cause for concern. Navas was a late replacement for the injured David Silva prior to the West Ham clash, and his grand contribution over the course of the 90 minutes was the successful completion of two crosses from ​20 attempts. Yes, 20.

He's a player with the tools to suggest he can actually produce - there's no denying his pace is a threat - but any footballer needs more than just pace to actually succeed, let alone at a title-challenging Premier League club. It's infuriating to see the lad continue to come up short.

Navas is essentially Manchester City's version of Antonio Valencia - a speedster, but one who has no plan B and little quality in distributing the ball. Though even Valencia has become somewhat useful across town recently, reinventing himself as a right back. And he's a far more imposing physical presence to boot.

The 29-year-old can't follow on those lines, and inevitably it's going to have to go one of three ways for the Spaniard in sky blue; either he drastically improves, he remains content with a place on the bench when better players are fit, or he departs.

Whether Pellegrini is vigilant enough to send him on his way remains to be seen, but perhaps that job will fall to the man that inevitably succeeds him.

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