Manchester City ended last season on a high nothing can quite possibly surpass - and the challenge of continuing what they had incredibly achieved lay in front of them.

Winning the FA Cup during the first year of ex-manager Roberto Mancini's tenure and the Premier League title during the second, everything looked set for a possible Champions League triumph this season.

But, in the end, all they could win during the season was a Community Shield.

The summer transfer window was quiet and, despite a few signings that looked of little use on the face of it, one still had the feeling of Mancini having things worked out.

City's premier summer target Robin van Persie could not be convinced to come to the Emirates Stadium and they lost him to their fierce rivals Manchester United - a move that later went on to decide the Premier League.

A settled 4-4-2 was done away with and a rather questionable three at the back was utilised. Blatantly, it failed.

Add to that a dip in the form of stalwarts Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, and City looked listless for most part during the season.

A second-place finish in the world's most competitive football league isn't that bad, but the league remained Manchester United and the rest for most part - and certainly for defending champions of the quality of Manchester City, they should have done better.

Tactically, Mancini seemed devoid of the cutting edge he showed last season, where City won a lot of games in the last third of the 90 minutes.

This time, though, only a late flurry from Edin Dzeko against West Brom early in the season is all one can remember for late drama. Manchester United, on the other hand, gave us several of these dramatic moments during the season.

Also, the team chemistry fell to appalling levels and a lot of times City looked like having no clue on how to breakdown certain defences. Under Mancini, City played with a characteristic flair where they would look like scoring with every other move - and when they were scrappy they knew how to get over the line. All that, too, disappeared.

They had set very high standards for us to judge them on and City, quite frankly, did not even come close to those standards.

They averaged around 58% of possession per game during the season and still did not manage to win 15 out of their 38 Premier League games, a statistic that sums up how City had ample time on the ball but just did not have the variation when teams decided to stoutly defend.

Joe Hart's reputation also took a beating during the season. Considered to be one of the best shot-stoppers in world football, Hart committed some high-profile mistakes, letting go of some important and easy saves.

Mancini criticised him publicly during the course of the season and, although his performances improved after it, he just wasn't at those levels he had been for the last couple of seasons.

The only silver lining in the dark cloud their season has been, was City's defence. Initially wobbly, but once Kompany and Nastasic settled into their rhythm, they formed a phenomenal partnership at the back for City.

Conceding the least goals (34) in the Premier League is a testament to the brilliant season Nastasic has had - and the imperative defender Vincent Kompany is, despite a dip in his form.

The amount of money Manchester City's owners have infused into their squad, they quite simply deserve a Champions League run. Mancini, for the second time running, couldn't manage to get his team out of the group stage of that competition; a prominent reason for his contract's termination.

Moreover, City did not even manage to win a single game in the group stage of the competition.

Overall City's season wasn't what it was supposed to be; they couldn't win a trophy and did not play the kind of football one associates this new Manchester City squad with.

But as their captain, Kompany, quite often says: City are destined for greatness - and they might quite well be.

This season, though, was a disappointment.

Overall rating: 6/10

They did manage to end up second in the Premier League, and reached the final of the FA Cup, but when you set a standard you need to follow it up. 

City fell short of what was expected of them.


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