End of season report

Finishing 2nd in the League is no mean achievement, and should not be taken for granted. City, however, under-performed last season, as a team and many of our players were significantly below their best as individuals for a variety of reasons. The long, intense 2013/14 season complete with World Cup would not have helped but there again, Chelsea managed to cope. Restricted by UEFA’s so-called FFP restrictions, City could not build on the squad that had brought us success, but that is no excuse where player performances are concerned. So, it has been a difficult to write this report, because it is no pleasure to be critical of players who have served us so well. Very few improved on last season’s levels. It is one City fan’s opinion, and there is no right or wrong view. It would indeed be interesting to read a different take. Apologies for the delay, but here it is.

Player Ratings

Hart: He gets better and better. He made many brilliant saves throughout the season. His highlight in a consistent season of personal highs was his one-man-show at the Camp Nou where he made at least 7 top draw saves, including 5 one-on-ones. He has become mpre confident at crosses, and catching more than previously The only thing that stops him getting the perfect 10 is his kicking which, though, slightly improved, is not anywhere near up with the rest of his game. He has become quicker, more intelligent and accurate with his throwing out: 9

Caballero: Lacked assertiveness when given the opportunity, and not always assured in his handling, which did cost us some goals. His lack of inches was a disadvantage too. Joe Hart has praised him as a good influence who has pushed him to better things: 5

Zabaleta: Suffered more than most from the effects of a long season followed by a World Cup. He looked leggy and rusty at the start of the season, and his form was patchy to the extent that he was on the bench for a few games one would normally expect him to play, such as in the Camp Nou. Got caught out of position a few times and was not as close as would normally be to his opponent at times. We didn’t see as much from him as an attacker. As one would expect, he never gave less than his all, and there was an improvement towards the end of the season: 6

Sagna: Was known at Arsenal for being a quick all round footballer who was very good going forward. Sadly we didn’t see much of him as an attacking force, and his defending, was good at times, it lacked consistency. Even allowing for a settling in period, the question has to be asked, are his best days behind him? 5

Kompany: Suffered a serious dip in form that saw him lose his place in the side as his injuries caught up with him. Overly impetuous, diving in and getting caught the wrong side of the ball too often, and tried too hard at times to rectify the situation. Maybe Pellegrini’s tactics don’t get the very best out of him, as he is probably not suited to the risky tactics of pushing up and trying nick the ball more, especially when he is carrying injuries. Hopefully a Summer’s rest will see him come back fresher and in a better place: 5

Demichelis: City’s most consistent and reliable defender, and can look back on a decent season, using his experience well. His reading of the game was good and his tackling was clean. His game wasn’t without error, and he inexplicably gave the ball away in dangerous positions several times, which is all the more surprising because he is good on the ball and his passing is generally good. He has proved his worth as a good signing and the signs are there is more to come: 7

Mangala: After a highly impressive debut against Chelsea, where his pace, power and tackling was very good indeed, his impetuousness and tendency to dive in started to show flaws in his game. As a consequence, Pellegrini was reluctant to pick him for the big games during the winter. Indeed he had a very good finish to the season, starting the last six games and showing better reading of the game and composure. He has bags of ability and with experience he will come good and read the game better: 6

Boyata: A little improvement, but not enough and he still looked rather nervous on the occasions that he played. Has moved on to Celtic and scored in a Champions League qualifier: 5

Clichy: Shared the left back position almost equally with Kolarov, and will have been concerned that his rival finished the season as a confirmed first choice. His defending was mostly good, but there were more off days than in previous seasons. There was some improvement in his delivery of crosses and he managed 4 assists in all competitions compared to just 1 in the previous season: 6

Kolarov: Had a poor season until the last half dozen games when he played very a good all round game and deservedly kept his place. His strengths are going forward but he struggles defensively and he only managed 2 goals compared to 4 in the previous 3 seasons: 5

Fernando: Had an excellent debut, showing great aggression and tackling ability and looked like the new Nigel De Jong in those first four games then got injured. For much of the season, he looked rather pedestrian and lacking a forward gear, as Fernandinho looked the better all round option, but there were some solid games, and given that it was his first season in English football, he may well more consistency in future, having had a year to settle in. If we played West Brom every week, he’d be top scorer, given that he scored goals in both our games against the Baggies: 5

Fernandinho: Suffered from a post-World Cup hangover. That terrible 7-1 home hammering for Brasil left its scars with Fernandinho and it affected some of his performances in the first half of the season. Improvement and greater consistent came after the turn of the year and City were always a better team with him covering the ground in midfield. Indeed he had to work doubly hard to cover Yaya’s lack of running. We missed him when he wasn’t there: 6

Lampard: A very good signing indeed, as he proved from the start by coming off the bench to score a timely equaliser against Chelsea. He chipped in some important goals, showing his trademark knack of arriving late in the box, expertly finding space, and clinically finishing to register 8 goals in all competitions, 6 of which in the League. Disappointingly, he was rather underused, particularly in January and February. Whilst at 36 his legs couldn’t cover as much ground but, he could still do a very good job, particularly in a central three, given his professionalism and fitness. He fittingly signed off with the opening goal on against Southampton, having been made captain for the day. Lampard is a great player and it was a privilege to watch him in City colours. Good luck and best wishes to him at New York City FC: 7

Yaya Toure: City’s most discussed player, he tried just about everybody’s patience. He scored exactly half the goals that he did in the previous season, scoring 12 in all matches (10 in the League) in 2014/15. 12 goals may sound impressive, but too often he did not give the required levels of effort and commitment to the cause, making it look like he no longer had his heart in it. He was suffering from the loss of his brother last summer, and he was probably jaded from playing in the World Cup and African Nations Cup on top of his club commitments, but he could still have given more. When he is focused and committed, he is still a brilliant match winner. He brings such great control, passing, strength and skill to City.

He was played in a midfield two when he and indeed City would be better with Yaya in a more advanced role in front of two deeper midfielders, or in a midfield three. It led to us often being overrun and easily got at. It looked like a parting of the ways was on the cards, especially with his flirtatious comments in the direction of PSG and Roberto Mancini’s Inter. It is difficult to release a player who has been such an important match winner and instrumental to four trophies since 2010. After he was told that he is not leaving, and that he is an important player by Khaldoon Al Mubarak, he indicated that he would stay. That and the fact that he was left out of some games by Pellegrini, probably contributed to him being more determined and committed at the end of the season. His pre-season form also bodes well: 6

Navas: His delivery was mostly poor, often hitting the first man. Managed just the one goal and had 9 assists in all competitions. It could and should have been more with better delivery, given the number of times he got into good crossing positions with his pace. His attitude, work rate and tracking back is first class: 5

Milner: His best season in a very good five year spell at City, and he show-cased his two foot passing ability, skill, tenacity, work rate and 8 goals. Despite being offered a lucrative new contract, he has, at 29 and a free agent, exercised his option to sign for Liverpool on a free transfer. Playing time was not the issue as he featured in 45 games (32 in the League) last season. He wants to play in central midfield, but he spent nearly all his playing time with City on the right or left flank, and Liverpool have told him that he will play in his favoured position. There was an inevitability about him moving on for some time, despite his popularity and appeals from fans to stay, but there is no bitterness or rancour from City fans towards him, probably because we appreciate a really good player with such a professional, committed approach. He never ever puts less than everything into a game and his contribution is much appreciated here. A very good servant to Manchester City, he leaves with our thanks and best wishes: 8

Silva: Another consistently high quality season from one of City’s greatest ever players. It is an honour and a privilege to watch him. There is far more to his game than his assists and goals. He makes City’s play flow most pleasingly with his excellent ability to find space, deliver and time a pass, even in the tightest of spaces. The supreme intelligence of his play is always progressive and productive and a joy to behold. He took more opportunities to shoot in 2014/15, and his tally of 12 goals (in 31 Premier Games) was his personal best. A player to be treasured: 9

Nasri: When he’s good he is very good indeed. When he is bad, he is infuriating to say the least. It had seemed like he had finally come of age and matured in 2013/2014, which was a fine season for him, but he clearly regressed last season. He was brilliant in our win in Rome and was doing well before injury struck up until the turn of the year. He had a very poor second half of the season which culminated in his being substituted at half time in the Nou Camp after failing to make a positive contribution and a terrible tackle on Neymar that should have seen him issued with a red card. Nasri was a big disappointment in the home leg against Barcelona, making no impact, and indeed he has yet to cut it against the very best sides in Europe. He wants to stay, and says everyone at City wants him to, but it would be no surprise if City sold him and upgraded: 5

Jovetic: Started the season in the team, bagging two goals in the 3-1 home win over Liverpool but he failed to sustain his good form and succumbed to niggling injuries. Was reduced to impact sub again and most significantly flicked on for Sergio Aguero’s two crucial goals which turned round the home leg with Bayern. Having played an important part in qualifying, he was very unfortunate to be left out of the Champions League squad in the knockout phase, especially when there were less deserving cases. He let it be known how upset he was but the rest of the season saw him suffer more niggling injuries. He did give all on the rare occasions when he did appear in 2015, but it looks like he is on his way to Inter: 6

Dzeko: He managed just 6 goals all season which is clearly well below his capabilities. His disinterested, sulky attitude was a big part of this. Instead of rising to the challenge of Wilfried Bony he seemed to give up and he drifted out of the scene making no starts in the last two months of the season. His sullen refusal to acknowledge the fans on the end of season lap of honour was disappointing too and it looks like he is on his way to Roma. It is a shame because he has been an important part of our success: 5

Bony: Signed in January for £25m from Swansea, it was a while before he made his debut, owing to African Nations Cup commitments. Was unlucky not to score early on but eventually netted a couple, including one against Swansea, and showed signs of settling, using his strength and intelligence to combine well with Silva and Aguero in the games at the back end of the season. He looks more of a team player than Dzeko and more committed: 6

Aguero: With his skill, strength, pace, power and determination, he was in the form of his life up until deep into December. He scored all four as Tottenham were beaten 4-1, he brilliantly, and thrillingly scored a hat trick, including those especially crucial two late goals to beat Bayern, as he consistently found the target. This was curtailed when he was cut down by a reckless tackle from Mohamed Besic in our win over Everton in December. Fears that he was seriously injured as he left the pitch in tears were allayed and he was back on January 10th. Understandably, it took him a few weeks to regain his form, but his professionalism and change of diet (which he attributed to him having less muscle injuries), saw him return to his very best. He has a great work rate, his attitude is impeccable and he his creativity cannot be underestimated either. Whilst 2014/15 didn’t bring the desired silverware, he had an excellent season in season of milestones. He scored 32 goals in 40 matches in all competitions, including 26 goals in 33 Premier League matches. His tally for City stands at 107. Here’s to many, many more: 9 ***Player of the Season***

Phil Banerjee

phil.banerjee AT


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