Player of the Season: David Silva
Although the likes of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have impressed throughout the season, my personal player of the season echoes that of many a City fan in deciding between perhaps the club’s three most important players: Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva. With clear arguments and statistics in favour of all three, for me it has to be The Magician David Silva who at 31 years young continues to wave his magic wand and ultimately make a massive difference for City in attack.
His influence may often go unnoticed and perhaps nowhere near the widespread praise that his talent fully deserves but his value to the club seven years after signing is greater than ever. With triple the amount of goals he scored last year in all competition as well as his highest number league minutes played since City’s 2011/12 title winning season, Silva may not get the credit the likes of Hazard and Alexis do but without him City are a much weaker side. Let’s just put it this way, whenever Silva’s sidelined due to injury both club and country miss him – the greatest sign of a highly influential player if you ever needed one.
Best Goal: Yaya Toure’s first goal in Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester City (19th November 2016)
Again there are several candidates for goal of the season with special mentions going to Raheem Sterling for his goal away at Swansea City, Sergio Aguero’s finish at an incredibly tight angle against Burnley and Ilkay Gundogan’s goal against Bournemouth. Had it been onside I may well have chose Gabriel Jesus’ late goal against Spurs but instead, I shall go for Yaya Toure’s first goal against Crystal Palace way back in November last year. After it had looked like his City career was all but finished, Toure well and truly marked his shock return to the first team fold with a fantastic finish worthy of grabbing any headlines.
Undoubtedly City’s man of the match that day after nabbing all three points with less than ten minutes to spare, the sheer surprise of seeing Toure’s name back on the team sheet that day coupled with the type of goal we’ve got so used to seeing from him over the years not just against Palace but at some of the biggest moments in our recent history, for his smart link up play with Nolito to end in such emphatic fashion was top draw.
Best Match: West Bromwich Albion 0-4 Manchester City (29th October 2016)
In what has been a frustrating season at times, I look back on the games where things just seemed to click and gave City fans a glimpse of what could yet be to come under Pep next season. Whilst there are notable mentions for the home victory over FC Barcelona, both City’s 5-0 FA Cup and 4-0 league win over West Ham United and not forgetting City’s derby day victory at Old Trafford, upon reflection my choice for best match would have to be City’s 4-0 away victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.
After six games without a win including defeats to Spurs, Barcelona and Manchester United across three competitions, I think this was the moment where City seemingly stopped the rot and turned a much more positive corner at least for the next month ahead. Alongside a resounding team performance and impressive individual displays from both Aguero, Gundogan and Claudio Bravo keeping only his second clean sheet of the season, I believe this was the game that acted as the springboard for City’s home win over FC Barcelona as well as a much brighter November in which City went unbeaten.
Season Rating: 5/10
Although City’s impressive start to the Premier League season had pundits and pockets of supporters alike speculating whether Guardiola could lead the club to success within his first season, it is fair to say that many with me included fully expected this season to be a transition year for Pep. With the resources left by Pellegrini together with a number of summer signings, I think City can be satisfied with their progress this season with the future looking much brighter than it did twelve months ago. I still think losing to Monaco in the Champions League was perhaps a big chance missed in City’s quest for European success especially given just how negative the club’s approach was to the second leg away in France.
Points dropped at home to Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Everton in games which City looked likely to win throughout were disappointing. Likewise albeit City’s away form has picked up in recent months, poor performances away at Leicester City, Spurs and Liverpool at least show that Pep’s City is very much still a work in progress. With such a transition, clearly optimism and initial success soon led to a number of underwhelming performances and minor disappointment, hence an overall rating of six. For a club of City’s modern-day stature, everybody knows much better is needed in all competitions – here’s hoping the club meet their potential next season.
Top Target: Alexis Sanchez
Guardiola has often said throughout the course of the season that City’s downfall has been the club’s inability to be clinical enough in the boxes. At first seen as a indirect at Sergio Aguero before a much wider criticism of a lack of ruthlessness across City’s attacking front three, for all of Aguero’s unquestionable talent and Jesus’ potential to become twice the player Kun has been for the club, I do think that City would benefit from another, world-class attacking option with both a hunger for success and proven talent at top level. Honestly speaking there really is part of me that is incredibly tempted to say City should just simply break the bank and go all out for either Kylian Mbappe or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and make a real statement of intent going forward.
Yet given his past history working with Guardiola coupled more importantly with what appears each game to be a genuine desire for success here in England, Alexis Sanchez certainly ticks all the boxes for me and I am sure would be a welcome addition to a number of the biggest clubs in world football. As well as regularly performing alongside the likes of Silva, Aguero, De Bruyne, Sanchez could further help the development of Sterling, Sane and Jesus – an individual who has often been a shining example of hard-work and willingness to succeed, even if it hasn’t always gone to plan at Arsenal.