Monday, 16 May 2016

End of season report / ratings

After a season that I have to label as one of the strangest I’ve ever known in the whole time that I've followed Manchester City and domestic football in general; it’s time to see how the players and manager fared.

2015/16 ratings out of 10

Just a very small number of games in the Premier League with, shall we say…varying degrees of success. From memory he was AWFUL at White Hart Lane; had a very good game at Goodison Park and had average-to-okay league games in others. However, and of course, he was tremendous at Wembley – he, in many ways, won the League Cup for us in that dramatic & heroic penalty shootout.

So, overall, I have to give ‘Wembley Willy’ his best season-scoring for us at 7.5/10.

Simply put, in my book at least, our ‘player of the season’. Dare I say / joke…Head & Shoulders’ above the rest? Marvellous season in which he has both saved and made us so many points over the season which, worryingly, could have seen us floating just above mid-table if it wasn’t for our England ‘number 1’ stopper. Any time I hear a rumour that Pep might be looking to bring in a keeper to REPLACE Joe rather than compete - and that Joe might be out of the door in the summer - absolutely ‘messes with my head’ and is beyond all my comprehension.

No qualms whatsoever giving him 9.5/10.

Plagued by injuries along with many of his colleagues for a good chunk of the start of the season; he came back and quickly grew back into his ‘Mr Steady’ role. With occasional very good games and a couple of wobbly ones; our French left-back has had another season where he can look back with a sense of achievement.

A solid 7/10.

One season too many for our aging Argentine defender I think (and to think also that Jason Denayer was available but loaned out to Galatasaray!)  ‘Plugged holes’ and had to step in during our worse injury period(s) but it was so obvious that his legs just aren’t Premier League any more.

Thanks for the assistance over the last few season – it’s a 4.5/10 this season from me.

Just to prove to regular readers that I’m not just ‘anti Kolarov’; I will recall, for those who can’t remember, that he raised his game towards the end of last season and put in 7, very good back-to-back performances. Then, whilst Gael Clichy started the season in the treatment room and we went on a 5-game unbeaten run (blimey…do you remember that?!), he continued his fine form. I thought we had a changed man on our hands!

But then the real Aleks Kolarov stood up and as our solid start to the season quickly faded into flaky and unpredictable performances; so too did our Serbian left-back’s form. He was truly, truly awful most of the time and apart from a brief resurgence towards the end of the season – most notably a substitute appearance at Dean Court – he just looked like he was floundering in a league that is clearly way above his ability. Please may he finally leave in the summer – how HAS he lasted so long?!

A non-exaggerated 4/10 - mostly ‘made up of’ & ‘saved by’ that good, 5-game start...

What a difference in the league, at least, having Vinny fit for most of the season might have made. I don’t flinch for one moment when I suggest that we could have had an additional 10 points or more had Vinny stayed fit for most of the 2015/16 campaign.

Worst injury season ever for our Belgium skipper…and that’s saying something! Will now also miss the 2016 Euro finals after breaking down in Madrid very early on in the game; surely has to retire from international duty if he wants to retain any hope of prolonging his City and / or domestic future elsewhere and at just turned 29; that’s a very sad prognosis indeed.

When he WAS fit, 8/10 overall from me.

At times looks like he has the ability and potential…but most of the time scares the **** out of me and, I’m sure, his manager / colleagues too. I still can’t decide on this one; whether or not Pep will fire him out of the club ‘quick time’ or will work with and improve the lad.

As for this season, 6/10.

There were times where I wondered if we had signed a bit of a hot-headed duffer or, at least, a player who was struggling to adapt to ‘the English way / league’. Flashes of calm, classy defending were broken-up by moments of ‘sliding in’ madness and, at times, he had a Mangala-like chaos about him.

However, these wobbles began to diminish as he got more and more ‘game time’ and by the last quarter of the season he was pulling off some really good performances. Over the whole season – and due to that late, consistently-good form – he squeezes into an impressive 8/10.

Continues to be one of the best freebies ever for me. Like Gael on the opposite flank of the defence, the French right-back has been ‘Mr Consistent’. But even more-so for me – he’s not only kept ‘our man Zaba’ out, when the Argentine was fit that is of course, but has put in some really good performances time and time again.

I would be slightly surprised if he doesn’t survive the managerial change for one season, at least, and he gets a solid and well deserved 8/10 from me.

Pablo Zabaleta

Up there with the most unfortunate of our ‘injury hit’ this season. And combined with the many, many miles on the clock his legs have accumulated over the years; he was fairly slow to get going once he’d returned from the treatment table…and before he broke down again near the end of the season.

Still has class and he did put in some really good, fully-Zaba-like performances. I would be delighted if he could play a part for Pep’s team next season but I do fear he may have played his last game for us.

Despite an injury-interrupted season, still gets a solid 7/10 from me.

BURST onto the scene after he eventually joined us…and then lost his way for a good chunk of games. His away performances in particular were pretty awful I have to say and remind myself.

He could, of course, have been suffering with-playing in a time that was also struggling terribly for form and I have taken that into account. Then his form picked up again before disaster struck! Badly injured at the end of January in our tense, League Cup semi-final, 2nd leg game against Everton; it looked, at one stage, like he might have been missing for the rest of the season. Indeed, the initial estimate was “3 months” and a return of about the end of April.

But he recovered far quicker than expected and came back with a bang against Bournemouth with an excellent display in a 4-0 win. From there on he produced largely excellent performances, dotty only with a couple of ‘missing in action’ games; most notably when played out on the left flank, I think.

Despite taking a mid-season dip in form followed by an injury he still gets a solid 8/10 from me. As with Vinny, “If only” springs to mind…

Another one who fell foul of the ‘injury plague’ this season. Fabian’s first happened very early on in the season and then again towards the end. In-between the two injuries, however, he was showing us all what Pellegrini saw in him and Aston Villa badly missed and, for me, he was a younger, pacier version of James Milner. Good in his defensive midfield duties but equally very mobile in-helping to support the attack left, right and centre.

Faded in his performances after his second injury and, by then, chosen behind Fernando most of the time; a solid 6.5/10 in his first season for Manchester City is no bad rating at all. Hope he survives the managerial change – could be an important player for us I think.

Regular readers might recall that I’ve often been a little unconvinced and unsure about our signing from Shakhtar Donetsk; with performances both inconsistent and as well as ones littered with rash-challenging errors.

However, he redeemed himself no-end this season; particularly in the first two-thirds of the season. Faded ever so slightly towards the end - as the whole team began to look weary - but still gets a solid and much deserved 8/10.


Started off injured and a little slow to get going; he got better and better and better as the season progressed. Became ‘a regular’ in fact and one, who, Pellegrini made a point of ‘protecting’ ahead of Champions League games.

A solid 7.5/10 would have probably have looked more like 8.5/10 had it not-have been for that unfortunate & slow start to his season.

Almost seems unfair to rate a player who missed SO much of the season through injury. However, he did play at the start and a few at the end and I saw enough of him to give him a 6/10. At “just” 29 in June; he has so much potential left if he could keep that lower lip of his tucked further into his often-sulking face.

It’s gonna be one of those where he’s either going to be out of the door in the summer before you can even blink OR a player that Pepe will improve greatly and be part of his plans for the next 2 or 3 seasons.

“Mr Frustration” as most fans will think of him as (if not worse). He’ll be 31 in November but he still flies around with amazing pace and energy. Sadly, most of the time, that’s about all you get from the little Spaniard. In fairness he grafts hard and covers the right-back area very well indeed…but he just cannot cross or shoot!

There were games, however, where he played really quite well I have to say and just as he was heading for 5/10 from me at one stage; his occasional, decent displays eventually nudged him up to an above average rating of 6/10. Weirdly, this fella’s pace & energy might just suit Mr Guardiola for one, ‘transitional season’…

Playing with ankle pain for most of the season is so obvious to us now when you look at his performances and the way he often trudged off the pitch at the end of games. Chuck in a couple of periods where he was actually out injured and that tells its own story of a player who, simply put, ‘makes us tick’ when not shackled by ‘problems of the body’.

Like Vinny & Kevin…if we’d have-had a fully fit David Silva not only would we have seen a better season for our team but I’m convinced also that he & Kevin De Bruyne would have done even more damage had they have managed to play together more.

Still, despite all of that, I recall several, truly remarkable displays from the little magician and, so, he still gets a well-deserved 8/10 from me.

Similar to Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem’s opening few games for his new club saw the England youngster off to a flyer! Even though his form then dipped a little, he still managed a few moments of magic to-both create and score in his new colours.

Then he just went flat…really flat!

He had no ‘zip’ about him and absolutely no inventiveness as he ran down endlessly blind allies.

Then his head seemed to drop too.

Severely waning confidence and some injures in the last third of the season simply finished him off. Similar to Samir, however, I still believe that Pep Guardiola has ‘the touch’ to yank this youngster’s ability out of him; an ability that he clearly has but has yet to find a way of applying a lot of the time.

I am, therefore, hopeful for him next season and beyond in a Manchester City shirt. However, for this season he gets and overall and very average 5/10.

The legs have gone, the ‘spark’ has gone…and I think he’ll be gone in the summer too. Thanks for some AMAZING performances and memories Yaya but, for this season, he just about gets a 6.5/10. Please remember to take your agent with you on your way out…

Another season where he gets a bad injury, which is even more confusing as to why our manager didn’t ‘beef up’ this department in the summer or, at least, winter transfer window.

However, and despite that, he put in some immense performances and scored a fair number of goals too. Had the team in general performed better / been more creative, I’m sure he’d have scored 10 more…or more. Faded in the last few games / looked tired and slightly unfit at times.

Despite everything, still gets a solid 7.5/10.

Another one plagued with illness and injury and a player, who, I defended for a while and had hopes for. But it just wasn’t to be - he just doesn’t suit / fit in to our team…and I don’t see Pep keeping him either.

A really poor and unexaggerated 2.5/10 (wooden spoon for Wilfried).

Still raw, at times, but an absolutely livewire and very good finisher most of the time. Despite our manager stating, on more than one occasion, that he sees Kelechi as an ‘off the striker’ kind of forward; this youngster often runs the line really well.

I think the seasons ahead and under Pep are very exciting ones for this 19-year old - as for this season, a solid 6.5/10 from me. Could have been a better score had he been played more…

Manuel Pellegrini

Plus-points of the season:

·         Won the League Cup

·         Played it dead right, in my opinion, when the English Football Association refused to move our F.A. Cup game with Chelsea ahead of a Champions League game and…

·         …in general, continued to be the ultimate professional and ‘charming man’ we’ve all come to know and love and, who, gets great respect from most in the footballing community because of that.

·         Continued to progress the club in the Champions League by not only getting us to the quarter final for the first ever time; he then achieved semi-final status for Manchester City for the first ever time too! A 0-0 result after the first leg meant that we came so very close to the final after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid (albeit a very flat, low-key performance from us in the end).

Negative points of the season:

·         Woeful performances in the Premier League that included 10 loses from 38 games, which is appallingly bad and, which, lead to us crawling on our bellies over the Champions League qualifier line on the final game of the season to 4th.

·         During our worst period of injures – and there was a fair few of those – underused or simply DIDN’T use the EDS players nearly enough (only when desperate enough or ‘making a point’ at Stamford Bridge in the F.A. Cup). And, similarly…

·         …massively underused Kelechi Iheanacho; steadfast in selecting Wilfried Bony instead for FAR too long.

·         Not bringing in a left-back at the start of the season.

·         With Bony still to prove himself from last season and showing signs of being a little injury prone; with Aguero himself having a history of ‘breaking down’ once or twice a season and with Iheanacho yet to show us what he could do; failure to bring in a striker in the summer was a big error in my book. And to add to that…

·         …then failing to bring-in a loan or purchase striker in January was similarly naïve / stubborn.

·         Baffling team selections and formations at times, particularly in league games before Champions League fixtures but also ‘in general’; where puzzling decisions by him proved to be disastrous and simply lost us games.

·         Loaning out Patrick Roberts – again, and also, during an injury-ravaged part of the season.

·         Loaning out initially - and then not recalling - Jason Denayer when we could barely string a recognisable back-4 together at one stage also appears very puzzling & naïve to me.

This season’s rating:

6.5/10 (saved mainly by a League Cup win and progression in the Champions League).

Overall - achievements in 3 seasons:

-       2 League Cup wins
-       1 Premier League win
-       1 Premier League runners-up
-       1 4th-place finish
-       Progression in the Champions League season on season
-       Highest points tally over any other team in the Premier League during his tenure
-       Highest goal-scorers likewise
-       2nd best defensive record in the Premier League during his time at Manchester City
-       Most charming man in football?
-       Coolest man in football?

Overall rating:

7.5/10 – He’s been “very good” for us and will leave with a “thank you” from most (and certainly me) but he’s not been “great”.

No comments:

Post a Comment