We are at this stage between the end of the WSL season and the start of the Euros. An excellent time to review’s Manchester City interesting season; the highs and the lows of the Sky Blues.
Summer incomings and departures
Manchester City’s summer kicked off with a string of high-profile signings. Filippa Angeldahl, Hayley Raso, Vicky Losada, Bunny Shaw, Ruby Mace and Alanna Kennedy all made the move to Manchester to join Gareth Taylor’s side. With a combination of young talent and senior international experience, what could the Sky Blues’ newest recruits bring to the team?
The summer also saw the departures of American stars Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle. The duo returned to the United States after just one season with City. Gemma Bonner and Tyler Toland also departed Manchester heading to the United States and Scotland.
Manchester City: Opening day and injury crisis
The season got off to a perfect start for the Cityzens. A 4-0 away victory to Everton saw the Sky Blues rocket to the top of the table on the opening weekend. The positive start however was short-lived as City were quickly met with an injury crisis.
Over the coming weeks, the Blues would see almost half of their squad face at least one game unavailable through injury. The losses were particularly in the defence, beginning with Esme Morgan suffering a broken leg in just the second game of the season.
A recurring ankle issue for skipper Steph Houghton would see the Blues without their captain for the majority of the opening half of the season. In fact, the injury crisis was so great that Taylor was at one stage forced to name Georgia Stanway as his reserve goalkeeper.Embed from Getty Images
The renaissance of Manchester City
Slipping down the table, Manchester City would eventually find themselves in the ninth position. Frequent defensive mistakes alongside a lack of threat in front of goals would see the Blues struggle to find form in the opening months of the campaign. City would also drop out of the Champions League in the group stage, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Real Madrid.
It was January that would finally bring about a change of fortunes for the blue half of Manchester. The return of vital players following the international break helped to return stability and depth back into the squad. The signing of Julie Blakstad from Rosenborg would also prove pivotal.
March would see the Blues claim their first piece of silverware for the season. A convincing 3-1 victory over Chelsea saw Houghton lift the Continental Cup for the fourth time. The victory over Emma Hayes’ side was particularly significant given Chelsea had handed City a 4-0 battering just 4 months prior.
April was perhaps the first time that City fans could dream of securing European qualification for next season. A run of strong results saw the Blues climb to fourth in the table as the end of the season came into view. What would result next was a battle that would continue until the final game of the season. With Manchester United, the only thing standing between the Blues and European qualification, would City be able to top their nearest rivals?Embed from Getty Images
Race for third
The following games would see City claw back points as they pursued Marc Skinner’s side. Ultimately the race for European football would come down to the final day of the season. As United headed to Chelsea, City would make the journey to face Reading. The circumstances of the day undoubtedly favoured the blue side of Manchester. A win for Taylor’s side would see them secure the pivotal third spot no matter the result at Kingsmeadow. City’s 4-0 victory over Reading would undoubtedly prove to be one of the moments of the season for the Blues.
Just a week after securing third, Manchester City made the journey to Wembley for the FA Cup Final. Ultimately Taylor’s side would come away from London empty-handed. Finishing third, claiming the league cup and reaching the FA Cup final, how will this season be remembered?
Some may consider the campaign a success especially considering the start City had. It is however to consider whether changes should have been made earlier in the season. The lack of a goalkeeper with regular playing time undoubtedly played a part in the position the team found itself in.
The club will have no doubt learnt vital lessons this season. Competing for silverware in four competitions this season, just what could Manchester City bring to the league next season?