No team has divided opinion on their performance in the 2015/16 season as Manchester City’s. On the plus side they reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time ever and won the Capital One cup at Wembley. But those accomplishments were overshadowed with City’s lethargic end to the season where they limped into the final Champions League spot despite not winning any of their eight Premier League games against the top five, drawing three and losing five.
Was City’s second half of the season performance due to the news that Manuel Pellegrini was being replaced by Pep Guardila this summer, or was it a indication of a deeper malaise at the club?
- Finishing position: 4th (-2)
- Total points: 66 (-13)
- FA Cup: Fifth round
- Capital One Cup: Winners
- Champions League: Semi final
- Top scorer: Sergio Aguero (24)
- WhoScored Top Rating: Nicolas Otamendi (7.47)
What would turn out to be Manuel Pellegrini’s final season as Manchester City manager began impressively enough with five straight Premier League victories. City didn’t even concede a goal in those games. However, a home defeat to West Ham in September was the first of five defeat at the Etihad Stadium – an indication of the team’s frailty.
Tottenham thrashed them 4-1 in the next game, but City showed they could still dish it out themselves with Sergio Aguero scoring five goals in 20 minutes in a 6-1 win over Newcastle. When Yaya Toure scored a late penalty to see off Norwich at the end of October, Pellegrini’s men were top of the Premier League.
The slip ups became more frequent over the winter with another 4-1 defeat – this time at home to Liverpool – being the worst of them. There was a 2-0 reverse at Stoke and a 2-1 loss at Arsenal, a blow that felt like it would be significant in the title race at the time. But even so, City went into their February home game against Leicester knowing that victory would put them top again.
Instead they were beaten convincingly and the performance raised doubts about the decision to announce earlier in the week that Pellegrini would be leaving at the end of the campaign. City lost the next two Premier League games as well and never looked likely to catch the leaders again – only all-but confirming a top-four finish with a point at Swansea in their final game.
More focus was on the cups with Willy Caballero the unlikely hero in a penalty shootout victory over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley. There was not such a happy ending in the Champions League when a fine run to the last four – including a quarter-final win over Paris St Germain – came to an end with a dull defeat to Real Madrid.
At least there will be another opportunity to play in the competition next season and incoming manager Pep Guardiola will be expected to rebuild. That’s likely to be without Toure, who may have played his last game for the club at Swansea, while there will be fears for skipper Vincent Kompany too – he’s out for the start of next season as his injury troubles continue.
Stats of the season
- City won none of their eight Premier League games against the top five, drawing three and losing five.
- Sergio Aguero became the first Manchester City player to find the back of the net in six consecutive Premier League appearances in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal.
- Kelechi Iheanacho scored eight goals from just 12 shots on target in the Premier League.
What do you think? Was this a successful season for City?