In a difficult season for the blue side of Manchester, Manchester City once again failed in their attempt to retain the Premier League trophy. Their problem seemed to have fallen in the summer transfer window again, as they failed to strengthen the squad significantly and ended up falling to a very strong Chelsea side. However, this shows the strength of Chelsea more than the failures of Manchester City as we entered 2015. After the New Year’s Day games, City and Chelsea were tied at the top of the table with the same goal difference and goals scored. Having spent much of the season in second place, there did come a point towards the end where a number of people thought they were going to slip out the top four completely.
The biggest area in which Manchester City fell short was dropping points to sides in the bottom half of the table, particularly against all of the relegated teams, with the club picking up just one point from six against Burnley.
This summer is huge now for City. Eight points shy of Chelsea, with Mourinho likely planning to strengthen them even further in the subsequent months, they have to strengthen themselves, and with the aging squad they have, it could be a major rebuild for Manchester City.
Vincent Kompany underperformed for most of the season, Yaya Toure wasn’t the same player he has been in the last three years, and Sergio Aguero missed large parts of the campaign and was still the top goalscorer in the league. They have been a little bit unlucky, but when you’re missing big players like that, the task of winning the title does always become harder.
There are some positives to take from their season however – they finished as the top scorers in the league with 83 goals, 10 ahead of second-placed Chelsea, and they also had the fifth best defence in the league, so overall they appeared quite high on the attacking and defensive tables.
Key Player – Sergio Aguero
As already mentioned, Aguero did miss parts of the season through injury yet still managed to finish as the Premier League Golden Boot winner with 26 goals in 30 league games, ahead of both Diego Costa and Harry Kane. He was by far Manchester City’s best player, and this is shown by the goalscoring droughts when he wasn’t playing.
Manchester City’s style of play under Pellegrini suits the Argentine very well, however rumours have once again arisen that Real Madrid are interested in Sergio Aguero. If City can keep hold of him this summer and rebuild their ageing team around Aguero, they could be in for a title challenge again next season, providing he can stay fit. This shows just how vital he is for this City side.
Most Improved Player – Joe Hart
The only reason I’ve gone with Hart for the most improved Manchester City player is because of the position he was in last season. Dropped at points in the season for Costel Pantilimon, Hart was written off by so many people. This season however, Hart has been back to his sensational best, pulling off some incredible saves at vital times for City, rivaling David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois for the best goalkeeper in the league again. The most notable save that springs to mind was his world class stop against Swansea.
Despite this, it’s not so much that Hart has improved his ability as a goalkeeper but rather that he’s got his confidence back now. His performances have included world class saves, but have also just been consistent all the way through the season, which hasn’t been the case for a number of City’s big players. In addition, with Fraser Forster improving his game at Southampton, Hart has kept him out of the international set-up with some top quality displays in an England shirt.
Fans’ View – Josh Lawless (Co-Editor of The Maine Blues)
The 2014/15 campaign will not be one that goes down in the memory of City fans after the Blues failed in their bid to retain the Premier League title. The fact that they ended the season trophy-less can only mean that it was a campaign of disappointment and underachievement.
Though City never really reached the heights of the wonderful 13/14 campaign, there were still some moments to savour. Sergio Aguero was breathtakingly brilliant throughout and deservedly claimed the Golden Boot award with an impressive tally of 26 goals in the Premier League. He also hit a stunning hat-trick to almost single-handedly dismantle Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich at the Etihad.
In addition, Joe Hart endured a highly commendable season and was much more consistent in his displays. England’s no.1 endured a rocky patch in 13/14 with a couple of high-profile errors but this season he was tremendous. That incredible save against Swansea in the 4-2 win just about summed up his season.
The biggest disappointment from the season was points dropped against teams that really had no right to match us on paper. It’s quite embarrassing that we only managed one point out of a possible six against a Burnley side that would then be relegated. Defeats against the likes of Stoke, Palace and draws against QPR and Hull also should not have happened. They would be considered freak games on the face of things but the regularity of those performances is what was most concerning.
We picked up towards the end with a quietly impressive winning run but by that time it was too late unfortunately. With some tweaks in tactics and personnel, I am confident we will return to our normal level of performance next time around.