The 3 players that won Manchester City the Premier League this season
After having appeared to surrender their chances of winning the league with defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in April, Manchester City secured their second Premier League title in three years after one final surge saw them leapfrog Liverpool in the final furlong.
It capped a glorious first season in charge for Manuel Pellegrini, who now has his first title as a manager in Europe under is belt and will look to strengthen his side to dominate domestically over the next few years.
City played an open, attractive brand of football right from the off, and although there were times when it seemed like their title chances were in jeopardy, it would be difficult for anyone to argue that they didn’t deserve it. They scored the most goals, had the best goal difference by some distance and played some outstanding football along the way.
But who were City’s best players over the course of the season? Here we take a look at three names that stood out as City finished with two domestic trophies for the first time in their history.
It’s difficult to start with anyone else. Yaya Toure has been a revelation since his move from Barcelona in 2010, but this season has seen him move up a level. He managed 20 league goals – 24 in all competitions – which, from midfield, is a superb haul. Add to that his usual lung-busting runs from deep and his dominance over his opposite number, and it is no surprise the Ivorian has emerged City’s most impressive player over the course of the season.
His goal against Aston Villa in the penultimate match of the season summed him up: a powerful run from inside his own half leaving a trail of Villa defenders on the floor after desperate attempts to get the ball of him, before an emphatic finish that gave the ‘keeper no chance. It was brutal and brilliant – indicative of everything that makes him one of the best midfielders in the game.
The level he has hit this season makes a mockery of Didi Hamann’s claim the he is “a liability”, a comment which appeared to criticise him for his lack of defensive work this season. However, Pellegrini made it quite clear Toure was instructed to attack more, with the arrival of Fernandinho meaning City had the energy in midfield to allow the Ivory Coast international more freedom to go forward. It was a move which worked brilliantly.
He only missed three league games and was impressive in almost every single one.