Man City review
Expectations have risen considerably at Manchester City on the back of recent successes, with failure no longer an option. With that in mind, Chris Burton attempts to pick the bones out of an eventful season at the Etihad Stadium - on and off the field.
Last Updated: 22/05/13 9:53am
Where to start when it comes to picking the bones out of Manchester City's season? The Blues entered the campaign as reigning Premier League champions and optimistic regarding their chances of making more of an impact on the European stage. They ended it back in the shadow of their cross-city neighbours, empty-handed and without a manager.
An early exit from the UEFA Champions League for a second consecutive season, a second-place finish in the league and defeat in the FA Cup final saw Roberto Mancini ushered through the exits a year to the day after guiding City to title glory in 2012. How times change.
Player of the Year - Pablo Zabaleta
The season may have ended on a low for the Argentine defender - after becoming only the third man to see red in an FA Cup final - but that should not be allowed to overshadow his achievements. Micah Richards' struggles with injury have played into Zabaleta's hands - allowing him to figure in more Premier League fixtures than in any of his four previous campaigns with City. He has been a model of consistency throughout, while his work ethic and dedication to the collective cause have made him a firm favourite with the Etihad Stadium faithful.
Ratings Player of the Year - David Silva
Looking at expert and user ratings over the course of the campaign, one man has come out on top on both counts. David Silva may not have been able to scale the heights he hit so impressively in 2011/12, but the same can be said for the vast majority of City's squad. The Spaniard has still been the Blues' go-to man on the creativity front - providing a team-high eight assists in the Premier League and four goals. Over the course of a season in which he has been a virtual ever-present, Silva averaged a rating of 6.90 from the Sky Sports scribes and 7.40 from the public.
Breakthrough Player of the Year - Abdul Razak
There have not been too many players to graduate out of City's academy system into the first team in recent times, but they have high hopes for Razak and believe he could be a potential star of the future. He is already earning plenty of recognition at this early stage of his career, with the Ivory Coast having drafted him into their senior ranks and included him in their squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. A productive campaign has also seen him take in a loan spell at Championship outfit Charlton Athletic and build on his experience of Premier League competition. There should be plenty more to come from the 20-year-old midfielder next term.
Signing of the Year - Matija Nastasic
It is fair to say that City's transfer dealings in the summer of 2012 were largely uninspiring, with Mancini accused of having made his squad weaker, rather than stronger. He can, however, take plenty of credit for having spotted the potential in Nastasic. City were by no means the only club looking at the Serbian youngster last year, but they were the ones prepared to stump up the cash to put a deal in place. Still only 20 years of age, the talented defender has been a rare success story at the Etihad in 2012/13. After settling quickly into Premier League life, Nastasic has made over 20 appearances in the league this season - often keeping more experienced options such as Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure on the bench.
Could do better - Samir Nasri
When your manager announces midway through a season that he wishes he could punch you at times, it is fair to assume that you are enduring a bit of a rough ride. Nasri has always been a player capable of winning a match on his own, he is just infuriatingly inconsistent - which was what Mancini was trying to get at when threatening physical violence. The Frenchman has seen his goal return and assist tally drop over the course of the last 12 months, but the clean slate offered by a change in the dugout could be the spark Nasri needs to rediscover his top form.
Manager - Roberto Mancini
The fact that he is no longer in charge of City speaks volumes about how he and City have fared in 2012/13. The decision to part with the Italian's services may have been considered harsh by many - given that he ended the club's long wait for major silverware - but even he must appreciate that a campaign which brought European failure and no trophies has been a huge let-down. Destabilising things further by bringing in a new coach may not be the best of ideas but, given how many changes there will be in Premier League dugouts this summer, City will find themselves in a similar position to many of their title rivals when the 2013/14 campaign gets under way.
Jamie Redknapp's view
To lose the FA Cup final to Wigan, go out of the Champions League at the first phase, spend vast amounts of money and not make a good fist of retaining their title means this has to be a disappointing season for City. There's no way to dress it up. They're a good side and if they get one or two players in this summer they can mount a real challenge next season - but they do need to freshen things up. I have sympathy with Roberto Mancini because he knew that at the start of the year and the board didn't listen to him. Rather than buying game changers they bought squad players - and that was the difference between them and United, who signed Van Persie.
Fan's view (Tom Wilkins)
After the ecstasy of last season, we have well and truly been brought back down to earth with a bump this year. A second-place finish and a Cup final might not scream failure, but the manner of the team's performances and the fact that the Cup final saw a loss to Wigan has meant that this season can't really be judged as anything but. Ultimately, Mancini lost the power battle at the club and has paid the price with his job. Strangely there don't seem to be many obvious highlights - perhaps the FA Cup semi-final or winning at Old Trafford again, but everything is bathed in a rather miserable light at the moment! The team's Champions League campaign was an undoubted disappointment again, but I've no doubt we'll bounce back stronger. It should be an interesting summer.