It's been a mixed campaign for Pep Guardiola's team
Expectations were high for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the 2019/20 season. The club won consecutive Premier League titles in the previous seasons with 98 points in 2019 and became the first team to reach 100 points in 2018. The ‘Centurions’ also held the FA Cup and EFL Cup, having won both competitions in 2018/19.
In the early stages of last season, City looked a confident team carrying their success into the new campaign. Guardiola’s side won silverware immediately, lifting the Community Shield before the season started, seeing off title challengers Liverpool on penalties.
In the Premier League, City beat West Ham 5-0 on the opening day to race to the top of the table, but a 2-2 draw at the Etihad against Tottenham in the following game brought the team back down to earth. More goals came in back to back wins over Bournemouth and Brighton, where Guardiola’s side scored seven goals and conceded one.
City then faced an away trip to newly promoted Norwich in what seemed a routine fixture. But the Canaries outplayed the former champions and, surprisingly, out-scored them too, winning the match 3-2. Although it was their first loss of the season, the result set the tone for the remainder of City’s league campaign. Inconsistency was a major part of City’s drop in form this season. Their inability to beat teams around them, and some lower opposition in the Premier League such as Southampton, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United, proved decisive.
By the half way stage, City lost more games than their entire previous Premier League campaign, losing five and drawing two. Their inability to put together dominating runs of form, like they did in the previous two seasons, saw title challengers Liverpool stage a 27 unbeaten run and race to the top of the table.
City didn’t lack goals, achieving results of 8-0 against Watford, 6-1 against Aston Villa and five 5-0 scores throughout the season. But it was their amount of away losses that cost them eventually and led to a disappointing second place finish, 18 points behind Liverpool. City lost seven and drew one of their 19 away games this season. By comparison, they lost four away matches in their previous two title winning campaigns.
Despite their downfalls this season, City did manage to retain the EFL Cup, beating Aston Villa 2-1 in the final, their fourth in five seasons. They also continue their quest for their first Champions League title, holding a 2-1 aggregate lead over Real Madrid in the last 16.
Guardiola’s team impressed with their attacking football last season. They scored 102 league goals with Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez all registering double figures for the season, which weren’t impacted by the lack of live games with fan attendance during the global pandemic of covid19.
De Bruyne and Sterling particularly impressed though. De Bruyne became the second player behind Thierry Henry to make 20 assists in a season and also scored 13 goals, narrowly missing out to title winner Jordan Henderson for the Premier League player of the year award. Sterling also led the line superbly for City, scoring 20 goals in 30 appearances.
Spanish playmaker David Silva also provided 10 assists in his final season for City. El Mago (The Magician) brought an end to an impressive career with City last season after spending a decade with the club.
Goalkeeper Ederson also finished the season with the Golden Glove for keeping 13 clean sheets in 35 appearances this season, more than any other goalkeeper in the league.